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Book: A Functional Grammar for Writers

Chapter: The world of experience: process types and grammatical metaphor

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.26426


This chapter addresses the various process types available to a writer in English, and explains how the choice of these process types positions the text. In essence, writers encode experience either in material processes (the world of doing), mental processes (the world of thinking and feeling), or relational processes (the world of identifying or attributing). Important also are verbal processes (the world of saying), in which we are able to place words and concepts in the mouths of others, a means in academic writing of creating solid argument structures. Finally, it turns to the resource or grammatical metaphor – the ways that we can take something from one type of grammatical structure (the verb “drink,” for example) and shift it to another (the participial adjective or gerund “drinking”) to allow for greater abstraction of process, thereby allowing greater precision of modification.
By the end of this chapter, readers will be able to see the broad patterns in process type and participant in English, and understand why certain choices are made in academic writing. Further, they will be able to judge and increase or decrease lexical density according to the needs of the text.

Chapter Contributors

  • Derek Irwin ( - dirwin) 'University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus'
  • Viktoria Jovanovic-Krstic ( - vkrstic) 'University of Toronto'