Material Processes 3: Scope

There are two different kinds of scope:

i. Scope: entity – which construes “an entity which exists independently of the process but which indicates the domain over which the process takes place” (H & M, p.192). This gives us, for example, play the piano, where the grammar construes our experience that the piano exists as an entity.

ii. Scope: process – which is “another name for the process” (H & M, p.193), for example, sing a song, play tennis. This also results in common delexical phrases, such as have a bath or make a mistake. One important reason why the grammar uses these as opposed to a process is that the use of a noun allows greater modification – have a nice long hot bath or play five good games of tennis – which would not be possible with a verb.

The difference between Scope and Goal is quite often not very clear, but there are some distinctions. The Scope “cannot be probed by do to or do with, whereas the Goal can” (in I crossed the mountains, for example I didn’t do anything to or with the mountains). The Scope “can never have a resultative Attribute”. Whereas we trampled the field flat is possible, with the field as Goal, *we crossed the field flat is not. The Scope also “cannot be a personal pronoun, and it cannot be modified by a possessive” (H & M, p.194)


Material Processes 2: Participants

Besides the Actor, there are “a number of other participant roles involved in the process of a material clause” (H & M, p.190).

  1. Scope: The lion crossed the field.

 2.  Recipient: I gave her a letter./ I gave a letter to her. This could also be metaphorical: The ranger sent a warning to the tourist/ The lion gave the tourist a bite on the leg.

3.  Client: I made myself a drink and one for her.

4.  Attribute: The lion ate the tourist clean.