Analyse the following utterances/sentences into processes, participants and processes. See the article What Do We Talk About? for information regarding these functional groups.
Before you begin, here is a reminder:
- Processes are the happenings or states of affairs represented in a clause. They are realised by verb phrases (e.g. went, started crying, will be singing, drank).
- Participants are those elements which denote who or what is directly involved in the process. They are typically realised by noun phrases (e.g. the man, Margaret, my left foot, an interesting book).
- Circumstances contribute additional, and frequently optional, information regarding the who, when, where, how, for how long, and so on, of the process. They are typically realised by adverb phrases and prepositional phrases (e.g. last Saturday, very quickly, on my pillow, before the meeting).
NB: The answers are given in a table at the bottom of this page.
- the dog is barking
- all of the people hid behind the wall
- cows eat grass
- yesterday they got married
- my daughter is making an omelette
- explain yourself
- the authorities had sent him to prison
- whenever you decide to leave
- my dentist placed it against my teeth
- I think
- we must act now
- she kept stopping her watch
- the hole was very deep
- will you turn off that music!
- three days ago our officers decided to visit the suspect at her home
- Graham must be singing by now
- many hands make light work
- thoughts will soon turn to dust
- that rolling stone gathered some moss
- tragically the once happy couple must have started destroying their seemingly solid relationship right from the start
(to the answers)
|1||the dog||is barking|
|2||all of the people||hid||behind the wall|
|4 yesterday||they||got married|
|5||my daughter||is making||an omelette|
|7||the authorities||had sent||him||to prison|
|8 whenever||you||decide to leave|
|9||my dentist||placed||it||against my teeth|
|12||she||kept stopping||her watch|
|13||the hole||was||very deep (1)|
|14||(will) you||turn off||that music! (2)|
|15 three days ago||our officers||decided to visit||the suspect||at her home|
|16||Graham||must be singing||by now|
|17||many hands||make||light work|
|18||thoughts||will (soon) turn||to dust (3)|
|19||that rolling stone||gathered||some moss|
|20 tragically||the once happy couple||must have started destroying||their seemingly solid relationship||right from the start|
It may seem a little strange to classify very deep as a participant in this example. However, in so-called relational processes (ones which relate two participants, and which are typically realised with the verbs ‘to have’ and ‘to be’) adverb phrases such as this operate as reduced noun phrases. So, very deep can be seen as a reduction of a longer noun phrase, e.g.
the hole was a very deep one
is reduced to
the hole was very deep
Clauses with an interrogative structure such as this, typically invert the subject and verb, e.g. you will turn off that music (declarative structure) becomes will you turn off that music. Consequently, the auxiliary verb will is placed before the noun phrase you and hence it is separated from the rest of the verb phrase turn off. Interestingly, the inclusion of an exclamation mark at the end of this utterance/sentence, rather than a question mark, suggests that this was not intended to function as a question but as a command.
It is a characteristic of circumstances that they are mobile. They can appear in several positions in an utterance/sentence: as the first element before the first participant, as the very last element, and so on, or, as in this instance, interrupting the verb phrase, e.g. thoughts will turn to dust soon has become thoughts will soon turn to dust.