An Adjunct “is an element that has not got the potential of being Subject; that is, it cannot be elevated to the interpersonal status of modal responsibility…typically realized by an adverbial group or a prepositional phrase” (H & M, p.123-4). For a prepositional phrase, consisting of a Predicator + Complement, it is often the case that one of the constituents, the Complement, has the potential of becoming a Subject and the preposition gets left behind. For example, in the clause someone’s already written on that paper, on that paper functions as Adjunct but it is also possible for the noun group that paper to function as Subject, in which case on is left behind:

that paper ‘s already been written on
Subject Finite Adjunct Predicator Adjunct
Mood Residue

There are three types of Adjunct which can be distinguished by metafunction. This affects their location in the clause:

  1. circumstantial Adjuncts, which are located in the Residue (experiential metafunction);
  2. modal Adjuncts, which may be in either Mood or Comment (interpersonal metafunction);
  3. conjunctive Adjunct, which are not located in the mood structure (textual metafunction).

For EFL, this metafunctional distinction between the types of Adjuncts is important and explains why the common EFL exchange Q: How often do you play tennis? – A: Usually sounds unnatural. The question how often is experiential in nature and thus would most naturally take a circumstantial Adjunct (once a week). The mood Adjunct usually, however, is interpersonal in nature and indicates part of the speaker’s attitude towards the activity. This explains why the exchange Q: Do you like tennis? – A: Sometimes, I guess could be judged as acceptable but is often not seen as such by EFL learners.



The Residue is those parts of the clause as exchange that are not contained within the Mood block and “consists of functional elements of three kinds: Predicator [one], Complement [one or two] and Adjunct [up to about seven]” (H & M, p.121). For example:

Sister Susie ‘s sewing shirts for soldiers
Subject Finite Predicator Complement Adjunct
Mood Residue


The Subject is the item that is “being held responsible” (H & M, p.117) for the validity of the argument and is identifiable by the tag question. If we take the example:

That teapot was given to your aunt, wasn’t it?

The teapot functions as both the Theme and the Subject and, as such, is unmarked. If we compare this, however, to:

That teapot the Duke gave to your aunt, didn’t he?

Here, the question is still ‘about’ the teapot, but it is the Duke who is “made to sustain the validity of the statement” (p118). Hence, the tag is “he”. We can see this responsibility in the case of certain offers and commands where the Subject is made responsible for the success of the outcome. For example, in I’ll be guided by your wishes, shall I? the speaker is not the Actor of the event but nonetheless is made to be responsible for its outcome.



For the clause as exchange, dialogue consists of four fundamental functions: statement, question, command and offer. The difference between them lies in the relationship of the Subject to the Finite. The Finite is the element that indicates either tense (is/was, do/did) or modality (can/must) and is often “fused into a single word” (H & M, p.111). He plays tennis, for example, can be expanded to He does play tennis. The Subject and the Finite can be identified through the Mood tag: He plays tennis, does he?
For statements, the relationship is Subject + Finite. This is called the declarative Mood:

I play tennis
Subject Finite Residue
For questions, the relationship is reversed. This is called the interrogative Mood. The interrogative Mood may either indicate polarity or content:

Do you play tennis?
What sports do you play?
Residue Finite Subject Residue
For commands, however, both the Subject and the Finite may be omitted. This is called the imperative Mood:

Play tennis!
We may, however, mark the imperative Mood to make it more emphatic or inclusive:

Do play tennis!
Let’s play tennis!
Subject Finite Residue

Offers, however, have no particular realization, although they often employ modal verbs.