Mood Adjuncts

Mood Adjuncts are “closely associated with the meanings construed by the mood system: modality and temporality, and also intensity” (H & M, p.126). The neutral position for mood Adjuncts is next to the Finite, although they may also function as Theme (temporality and modality have a strong tendency for this) or as Afterthought:

  1. usually they don’t open before ten (thematic)
  2. they usually don’t open before ten (neutral)
  3. they don’t usually open before ten (neutral)
  4. they don’t open before ten usually (afterthought)

The difference between 2. and 3. is also systematic – try replacing usually with always to see the difference. Adjuncts of modality are closely related to the system of modality construed by the Finite operator. The important difference is, however, that whereas the system of modality through the Finite is subjective, where it is “the speaker’s own judgement on which the validity of the proposition is made to rest” (H & M, p.150), Adjuncts are construed as being objective and “represent different types of assessment of the proposition or proposal” (H & M, p.126). Thus we can compare It must be a pen (implicit-subjective) with It is certainly a pen (implicit-objective).

Adjuncts of temporality “relate either (i) to the time itself, which may be near or remote, past or future, relative to the speaker-now [for example, eventually/soon or once/just]; or (ii) to an expectation, positive or negative, with regard to the time at issue [for example, still/already or no longer/ not yet]” (H & M, p.127-8). In special cases where Adjuncts of modality and temporality are ‘negative’, the order of Subject and Finite is typically (in certain registers) reversed, such as Never before have fans been promised such a feast of speed (H & M, p.127).

Adjuncts of intensity fall into two classes: (i) degree, which may be total (totally, utterly), high (quite, almost) or low (scarcely, hardly) or (ii) counterexpectancy, which may be either exceeding (even, actually) or limiting (just, simply) (H & M, p.127-9). Adjuncts of intensity cannot be thematic.

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About eflfunc

I'm an EFL teacher in Japan and this is a blog to record some thoughts on using Systemic Functional Linguistics in the foreign language classroom.
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