A Linguistic Analysis of Nominal and Verbal Group Structural Patterns in some Nigerian Newspaper Editorials

This article is published by the Zamfara International Journal of Humanities.


Mudassir Ismail Moyi

Department of English and Literature

Federal University Gusau

Zamfara - Nigeria




Isah Abdulmumini

Department of English and Literature

Federal University Gusau

Zamfara - Nigeria





The paper analyses the occurrences of structural patterns of nominal and verbal groups. This is with a view to portraying the innovative use of language that such types of writing represent and also reveal the complexities that are embedded in clause structure to which these groups are important parts. The data for the study were drawn from five issues each of two popular Nigerian newspaper editorials: The Daily Trust and Thisday newspapers. The editorial was analysed first for occurrences of basic structural types of the nominal and verbal groups in English (H, MH, HQ and MHQ) and then for occurrences of possible nomi

nal and verbal groups modifiers ((M, MM, MMM etc.) and qualifier structural types. The findings show that there are structural complexities found in the newspaper editorial due to the use of many rankshifted elements especially in the nominal group. Similarly, there are differences in the nature of these complexities between the editorials of the different newspapers studied partly associated with stylistics of individual writers and also due to the nature of the topics under discussion. Systemic Functional Linguistics was adopted as the main theoretical framework; however, insights were also drawn from Contrastive Analysis in the course of data analysis.


Key words: Nominal group, Verbal group, Nigerian newspaper, Systemic Functional Linguistics



Newspaper editorial is one variety of a media discourse that pays attention to various elements of human social issues, problems, and opportunities (McCombs, 1997). Afolabi (2012) says ‘An Editorial, by way of definition, is a corporate voice or position of a media organization on any given issue of public interest’. It is believed that editorial, an aspect of mass media, is one aspect of writing where

expertise in terms of use of language comes to play. Hence Jegede (2015), puts it aptly as “Editorials are public mass communicated types of opinion  discourse par excellence” The writers here display their talents which normally makes these types of writing superb, aside its informative and descriptive nature. Editorial texts tend to be persuasive, subjective and official representatives of public opinion which attract readers and researchers by representing ideological opinions on controversial matters (Hornby 2000). Daramola (1999), on the other hand, sees it as ‘a presentation of facts and opinion in concise, logical, pleasing order for the sake of entertaining or interpreting significant news in such a way that its importance to the average reader will be clear.’ Editorials are not only found in newspapers, they are also found in magazines, periodicals, journals etc. Editorial opinions are defined as beliefs that presuppose value and contain judgments about individuals. One important point about editorial writing is that it is institutional. Even though written by single editor, but represents the opinion of the newspaper, magazine or journal that publish it (Van Dijk 1996). 

According to Akpan (2000), editorials are probably the widest circulated opinion discourses of society, whether or not all readers of the newspaper read them daily. An editorial has the primary goal of influencing the attitudes, beliefs, or behaviour of the readers (Katajamaki and Koskela, 2006). Through its editorial, a newspaper tries to convince readers that its point of view about a topic is the correct one to accept. The purpose of the editorial therefore is to stimulate readers into action. To achieve its goals, the editorial explains or interprets an idea, an event or an action by either praising or criticising it. It is clear, therefore, that the process of persuasion is an important consideration for the editorial writer. Persuasion is a means by which one person can cause another to want to believe, to think or to do something in a suggested way (Wiredu 2012:77)


This paper attempts at describing a particular linguistic feature of Nigerian Newspaper editorials. It is the occurrence of nominal and verbal group structures in the editorials of two newspapers considered. This description might help readers to understand and appreciate the structural complexities embedded in these types of writings. Five editorials each of the two prominent newspapers were earmarked for analysis. The newspapers are: Daily Trust and Thisday. The choice of the two newspapers is done with the intention of bringing out the structural as well as stylistic differences found in the two papers since they are written by different writers.




Literature Review and Conceptual Clarifications 


Systemic Functional Linguistics

Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is an approach to linguistics that considers language as a system. It was developed by Michael Halliday. Thus, Halliday (1994) notes that, the term ‘systemic’ refers to the view of language as a network of systems, or interrelated sets of options for making meaning. The term ‘functional’ refers to Halliday's view that language is as it is because of what it has evolved to do. In other words, SFL is the study of the relationship between language and its functions in social settings. Systemic Functional Linguistics treats grammar as a meaning-making resource and insists on the interrelation of form and meaning. Halliday (2003) also describes grammar as a ‘system’ not ‘rules’ on the basis that every grammatical structure involves a choice from a describable set of options. Language is thus a meaning potential. Grammarians in SFL tradition use system networks to map the available options in a language.

English clause is a composite affair, a combination of three different structures deriving from distinct functional components. These components (called ‘metafunctions’ in systemic theory) are: the ideational (clause as representation), the interpersonal (clause as exchange) and the textual (clause as message). What this means is that the three structures serve to express three largely independent sets of lexico-grammatical choices. (i) Transitivity structures express representational meaning; (ii) Modal structures express interactional meaning and (iii) Thematic structures express the organization of the message. These three sets of options together determine the structural shape of the clause (Halliday & Metthiessen 2014).

Halliday (1994) divides the ideational function into two: the logical and the experiential meta-functions. The logical meta-function refers to the grammatical resources for building up grammatical units into complexes, for instance, of combining two or more clauses into a complex clause. The experiential function refers to the grammatical resources involved in construing the flux of experience through the unit of the clause.

This study focuses on the experiential function alone as presented by Eggins (2004). She says that, the experiential meta-function, also called “clause as representation”, is the clause that represents the content of our experiences, answering the question “Who does what to whom”. This meta-function uses the grammatical system of transitivity. Although sharing the traditional view of transitivity that focuses on the verb group (the Process), the system describes the whole clause (Thompson, 1994) and does not use the labels ‘subject’, ‘verb’ and ‘object’, because verb is a word class, while Subject and Object are a functional term. Instead, different functional labels are given to Participants (realised by nominal groups)Processes (realised by verbal groups) and Circumstances (realised by prepositional phrases or adverbials signifying time, place or manner) of each process type. The study looks at the Nominal (participant) and Verbal groups (Processes) of the Nigerian Newspaper editorial, hence the focus of the study.


Nominal Group and Verbal Group 

Groups constitute the immediate structure after clause in the rank ladder offered by Thompson (2000). Just as the clause has functional slots (e.g. Subject; Actor; Theme) which are filled by groups, these slots or elements themselves "can be analyzed in terms of the functional slots that they offer" (ibid. 179). Nominal and verbal groups are essential elements of a clause structure. While Nominal Group is a group headed by a noun, pronoun and nominalization, Verbal Group is a headed by a verb, the word class used for expressing processes, actions, states and relations within the clause (Adejare & Adejare 2006).

However, before analyzing the structure of the groups, there are some points that need to be clarified first. A phrase is different from a group in that, whereas a group is an expansion of a word, a phrase is a contraction of a clause (Halliday & Metthiessen 2014: 362). Example: ‘The man in the car’ represents a single phrase, noun phrase (NP) but two independent groups a nominal group (NMG) and a prepositional group (PRG). However, the two achieve roughly the same status on the rank scale, as units that lie somewhere between the rank of a clause and that of a word" (Ibid: 363).


The experiential structure of the nominal group indicates that, a nominal group is always headed by a nominal, which can be a noun, a pronoun or a nominalization. It is a group with the ability to function as subject, complement or adjunct in the clause structure. The types and number of items that may constitute a single nominal group vary greatly. Examples: men, the market, jade, believing and it etc (Adejare & Adejare 2006).

Most clauses consist of complex nominal group, e.g those two splendid old electric trains with pantographs. This group contains the noun trains preceded and followed by various other elements all of which, in some ways, characterizes the noun ‘train’. These occur in a certain sequence; and the sequence is largely fixed, although some variation is possible.


We can interpret this nominal group structurally as in Figure :

Adopted from Halliday (2004)


Experiential Structure of Nominal Group

The nominal group is the grammatical unit which has the most variety at this rank of groups and this would allow the widest range of meanings to be expressed (Thompson 2000). English Nominal group, henceforth (NMG) structures, like other groups, is represented by the composite (M) H (Q) structural formula. The element M represents a Modifier, H refers to a Head Word OR Head and Q is a Qualifier. The brackets indicate that both modifier and qualifier are optional elements of the structure (Adejare  & Adejare 2006). The head word is however the obligatory element of the structure. This means, it must always be present in all NMG structures. Thompson (2000) in his own categorization divided the Nominal Group structure into three basic functional parts: Pre-modifier, Head and Post-modifier. That is, there are slots before the ‘head’, the noun which forms the central axis, and others following the ‘head’.  Example: the nominal group ‘The pretty little girl with whom you made appointment’ can be represented structurally as:


The Modifier System

The modifier system can in turn be categorized typically to express one or more of the functional elements in it. It has four elements in its structure: namely, Deictic (or Determiner), which indicates whether or not some specific set of the things intended. Examples of deictic are: possessives (e.g my, your, his etc), demonstratives (e.g this, that, these and those), articles (e.g. the a(n)), indefinite pronoun (e.g each, every, many, all) and sometimes a noun (e.g Soyinka’s lecture, today’s meeting  etc).  Ordinal (or numerals) is a position immediately after deictic in the modifier system. It indicates some numerical features of the system. This can either be ordinal (first, second, fifth last etc) or cardinal (one, two, five, ten etc) numerals.  Examples: My first visit to Britain was in 1980. Cardinal- the Senate confirmed seven Cabinet ministers (Adopted from Halliday 2004).   Epithet is the third element in the modifier structure. It indicates quality of the subset, e.g old, long, blue, fast (experiental epithet) and cute, pretty, splendid, ugly, silly etc (attitudinal epithet). Since qualities are donated by adjectives, epithets are often realized by adjectives. Nominal is the last in their normal order of occurrence. Nominal indicates a particular subclass of the thing in question, e.g. electric trainspassenger trainstoy trains. This group functions either as epithet or classifier with differences in meanings. These four discussed above (Deictic, Ordinal, Epithet and Nominal) produce a structural formula DOEN (Adejare & Adejare 2006). Halliday (2004) however, categorize the modifier into a deictic, numerative, epithet and classifier.




The Head

The head is the only obligatory element in the nominal group structure.  This is normally filled by a pronoun, a proper name or a common noun and nominalization (or gerunds). There is however some exceptions to this. For example, in an elliptical nominal group, the Head may be a determiner (or  'Deictic') (Thompson,2000: 180). Pronouns and proper names rarely need any further specification, and therefore usually appear with no pre-modification or post-modification (ibid.).


The Qualifier System

Qualifier is the element which follows the noun head. The example- Those two splendid old electric train with pantograph ended with the phrase with pantographs; this also is part of the nominal group, having a function we shall refer to as Qualifier in the nominal group structure.

Except on some few occasions, all Qualifiers are rank-shifted. What this means is that position following the head in the Nominal Group structure, is reserved for those items which, in their own structure, are of a rank higher than or at least equivalent to that of the nominal group.  On the basis of this, therefore, they would not be expected to be constituents of a nominal group. Such items are said to be rank-shifted, by contrast with ranking ones which function prototypically as constituents of the higher unit (Halliday 2004). Arnold, (1985) adds that, unlike the elements that precede the Head, which are words (or sometimes word complexes), what comes after the Head is either a phrase or a clause. Almost all Qualifiers are embedded phrases or clauses (ibid.). Thus, Morley (1985) points out that they are structurally of a rank "higher than or at least equivalent to that of the nominal group".

 The Verbal Group

The verbal group is the constituent that functions as Finite plus Predicator (or as predicator alone if there is no finite element) in the mood structure (clause as exchange); and as process in the transitivity structure (clause as representation) Halliday (2004). Example, in the clause: Mr. Isaac has been waiting for you. The verbal group is …has been waiting.

A verbal group is the expansion of a verb, in the same way that a nominal group is the expansion of a noun; and it consists of a sequence of words of the primary class of verb. If we consider has been waiting just as a word sequence, it contains a lexical verb waiting, which comes last; a finite verb has, which comes first; and an auxiliary verb been, which comes in between. No other ordering of these three components is possible. As with the nominal group, Verbal Group also has Experiential and logical structure of ideational meta-function. However, unlike nominal group, the experiential structure of verbal group is extremely simple. This is due to the fact that there is very much less lexical material in the verbal group ­­- only one lexical item. Most of the semantic load is carried by the logical structure, including the tense system (Halliday 2004).


 Experiential Structure of the Verbal Group

The experiential structure of the verbal group is ‘finite’ (standing for finite operator) plus event, with optional elements Auxiliary (one or more) and Polarity. Finite verbal groups range from short, one-word items such as ‘speak’, where the finite is fused with the event and there is no Auxiliary, to long strings like ‘couldn’t have been going to be being spoken’ (ibid). This can be represented as below:


Adopted from Halliday (2004)



A striking feature of this structure is its parallelism with the nominal group. The verbal group begins with the finite, which is the verbal equivalent of the Deictic, relating the process to the ‘speaker-now’; the finite does so by tense or modality,  whereas the Deictic does so by person or proximity, but each of these provides the orientation of the group. The verbal group ends with the event, which is the verbal equivalent of the thing (Head); the former expresses a process, which may be event, act of consciousness or relation, whereas the latter expresses an entity of some kind, but both represent the core of the lexical meaning  (Halliday &  Metthiessen 2014: 397).



Ten (10) editorials were selected for analysis in this study, five (5) each from the ‘Daily Trust’ and ‘Thisday’ newspapers. The selection was done using simple random sampling method within a specific period of time (from October 16th to 22nd November 2017). This ensures that different editorials which covered different topics were selected. The motive for doing that is to see whether the differences in the topics covered by the editorials could result into entirely different structure of the nominal group (NMG) and verbal group (VBG). The editorials were labeled for ease of identification. Examples Daily Trust and Thisday editorials were leveled DTE1….. DTE5 (i.e Daily Trust editorials 1….5) and THDE1….. THDE5 (i.e Thisday Editorials 1…..5) respectively. The study focuses on the experiential structure of the nominal and verbal group alone in the Editorials.

The different structures of the groups under study (e.g H, MH, HQ and MHQ) were outlined. Likewise, the complex modifier and qualifier structures (e.g MM, MMM,…Q1, Q2, Q3 etc.) were also grouped together to see how their occurrences influences the meaning intended by the editorials and then relate it to the overall content of the editorial. The analyses will explain what could have resulted into complexes normally found in the structures of NMG and VBG of the most newspaper editorials. 


Data Presentation and Analysis

Nominal Group

The analysis of the newspaper editorials showed complex pre-modifying (modifiers) and post-modifying (qualifiers) elements which serves as attributes of the noun head. In editorial context, these modifiers and qualifiers are used in order to achieve all-inclusiveness so as to avoid ambiguity in interpretation. Nominal groups as observed in the editorials studied show lengthy structures with multiple modifiers and a lot of embedded qualifiers, in some cases, numbering up to five (i.e Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 and Q5).

There are total of five (5) editorials each selected from these newspapers for analysis. They are numbered thus, From Daily Trust side:  ‘FG’s abandoned milling machines’, published on Tuesday 17th October, 2017 as ‘DTE1’; ‘Kaduna’s 20,000 unfit teachers’ published on Monday 23rd October, 2017 as DTE2; ‘Welcome, North East Development Commission’, published on Tuesday, 31st October, 2017 as DTE3; ‘Too much harassment on Abuja roads’, published on Monday November 13th , 2017 as DTE4; ‘Attaining global standards in publishing’, published on Tuesday 21st November, 2017 as DTE5. Whereas from Thisday’s side: ‘Police and Rising Crime Rates’ published on Tuesday 17th October, 2017 as THDE1; ‘Six-year Single term proposal’ published on the 22nd October,2017 as THDE2;  ‘Zuma’s scandalous Statue in Owerri’, published on the 27th October, 2017 as THDE3; ‘Cabinet Job for the boys’, published on the 5th October, 2017 as THDE4 while ‘Teaching and Education Sector’ published on Tuesday 17th November, 2017 as  THDE5.


H type Nominal group

There are few occasions where these structures are used in the editorials, however, they occur mostly as (1) proper noun..e.g El-Rufa’i as in El-Rufa’I also said…(DTE2), Nigeria.. as in… in Nigeria (DTE5) (DTE2); (2) a pronoun…e.g I as in I expect the…(DTE3), We expect the minister of Agriculture….,  He…as in…he said…(DTE2); (3) Demonstratives  e.g: these… as in These include….(DTE5); (4) Appositive noun e.g  Bukola Saraki, president of the senate…(DTE3); (5) common noun & mass noun e.g people.. in it is time people own up…(DTE1), writers…as in writers should be able..(DTE5), (6) nominalization e.g teaching… as in because teaching has remained …(DTE2)

There is limited use of H type structure in the editorials. This is believed to be as a result of the descriptive nature of editorial writing. This is represented thus:


MH type Nominal group 

The MH structural type of NMG comprises of the modifier (M) and the head (H).  There are many appearance of this structural type in the editorials studied. As stated earlier, the modifier could be deictic (determiner), numerative, epithet and classifier. In this MH structural type, almost all the modifiers are represented. (1) Classifier e.g Global standard… (DTE1), National Librarian….(DTE1), Legal  deposit (DTE1), President Muhammadu Buhari (DTE3), Senate President …(DTE3), poverty alleviation.. (DTE3), media reports.. (DTE4), taxi driver (DTE4) etc. (2) Deictic e.g   the Machine… in… the machine were….(DTE1the pronouncement …in since the pronouncement…(DTE2), the governor….as in .. the governor need to…(DTE2), a report ...in.. According to a report…(DTE1), these things … as in these things kept…(DTE1), this advantage …as in …this advantage should be…(DTE5), our position… as in our position was…(DTE3), many workers.. as in many workers consequently…(DTE4),  some publishers… as in due to lack of trust in some publishers…..(DTE5), other problems …(DTE5), his tenure…(THDE1) etc. (3) Epithet e.g  big millers… in at the mercy of big millers…(DTE1), public fund and good policies ….as in ..This is how public funds and good policies are…(DTE1), criminal waste… as in we know that such criminal waste…(DTE1), imported medicalseducational, technical and agricultural equipment…(DTE1), poor planning and criminal neglect… (DTE1), violent crime…(THDE1), former president …(THDE2), proper teaching and learning.. (DTE2), meaningful teaching…as in no meaningful teaching.. (DTE2), classroom facilities … as in best of classroom facilities.. (DTE2) teaching job…as in unfit for teaching job ..(DTE2), wasteful projects…as in wasteful projects such as.. (DTE3), unethical conduct… as in to engage in unethical conduct..(DTE4), xenophobic attack….(THDE3), official duties… as to perform official duties predisposes… (DTE4), official criminals…(THDE1), personal interest …(THDE3), innocent citizens… as in.. Innocent citizen become …(DTE4), advanced countries … as in advanced countries etc. (4) Numerative/ordinal e.g two billion Naira…as in is about two billion naira… (DTE1), 33,000 teachers as in 33,000 failed…(DTE2), 25,000 new teachers…, three drivers…(DTE4), four Hilux …..(DTE4) etc.

From the foregoing, it can be seen that the topic under discussion plays important role on the complexity or otherwise of the structural patterns. While DTE1, 3 and 5 has limited uses of epithet in their structures, DTE 2 & 4 there is wide range usage of the element which could be as a result of topic’s descriptive nature. Below is the representation of the MH type NMG diagrammatically:



HQ type of NMG

 There are also occurrences of head and qualifier of the nominal group in the newspaper studied, however, since elements that can appear as qualifier are mostly rankshifted elements i.e elements of the same rank or above the rank of the group (e.g group or clause). The HQ types observed in the

editorials are mostly: (1) Prepositional group e.g Minister of agriculture,   everyone in



Nigeria… (DTE3), appearing in Mufti ….. (DTE4), photos of an accident…(DTE4), director of the FCT directorate of…(DTE4), citizens of another country..(THDE3), . (2) A rankshifted clause e.g  report that the multi-million naira grain machines bought …….(DTE1) etc.

As expected, this structure does not feature prominently in the editorials studied. This is represented using a diagram:


MHQ type NMG

This structure has the frequent usage in the editorials studied. In most cases, there are multiple modifiers and concatenation of rankshifted qualifiers giving a different level of description in the structure. The different structures of MHQ observed in the editorials are:  the current minister of agriculture… (DTE1), the machines which were meant to be distributed to…. (DTE1),  the provision of grain milling machine…..(DTE1), ease  their problem of being at the mercy…(MHQ1Q2), the hiring of teachers…..(DTE2), a teacher who failed to….(DTE2), …the affected teachers in their competences…..(DTE2), the harrowing experience of the people…(DTE3), a previous editorial last year…(DTE3), the recovery and development of the region….(DTE3), the functions of federal, state….(DTE3), a marshal plan of the kind….(DTE3), normal flow of traffic…(DTE4), those responsible for restoring orders….(DTE4),  the national t of the internet…(DTE5), …the process of book publishing…(DTE5) etc. library of Nigeria…(DTE5), a series of workshops across the country… (DTE5) etc.

The qualifier in the MHQ structure of the editorials studied are mostly dominated by prepositional group qualifiers, however, the research also witness the occurrence of some few rankshifted clauses as qualifiers in the structure. The structural representation is thus:


Modifier structure of the NMG in the editorials

There are different modifier structures in the nominal group structure of the editorials studied. They range from single modifier to multiple of modifiers, sometimes numbering up to five (5) or more. The table below show samples of the different modifiers identified. 



The Qualifier Structure of the NMG in the Editorial

The qualifier structure of the nominal is where most of the complexity of the group occurred, however, in the qualifier structure, it varies from only one qualifier to multiple qualifiers. The structure may also contain words, groups and even clauses as qualifiers. The table below shows the different occurrences of qualifier elements in the editorials studied.

There are number of rankshifted groups and clauses embedded into the structure of the nominal group studied. This might not be unconnected with the nature of the writings, which seek to explain things in a clear and concise manner devoid of ambiguity. Most of the complexes found in the structures of nominal group are normally at this level of qualifier where up to seven qualifiers for one nominal were witnessed before verbal group sets in.



Verbal Group (VBG)

Unlike structure of nominal group, the experiential structure of verbal group is extremely simple (Halliday 2004). It deals with only the element that indicate finiteness of the verb (whether verb itself or other elements), one or more auxiliaries and polarity elements. The study, however, did not give much priority to verbal group structure due the simplicity of its structure. The occurrences of different verbal group structures are presented thus:

Single element VBG (H type)

This structure contains a finite elements (writes and wrote) and even non-finite element appearing as the sole element in the structure. This occurrence has been witnessed in the editorials studied. E.g  expect…in ‘we expect minister of Agriculture..’,  know…as in we know that (DTE1); was.. as in.. it was a shocking,  said…as in…El-Rufa’I also said…, etc. (DTE2), (THDE5); signed…as in President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law…, agrees…as in everyone in Nigeria agrees…,  started…as in the fracas started…, arrived…as in four Hilux vans belonging to the taskforce arrived…, are…as in taxi drivers are a menace…, predisposes…as in official duties predisposes…(DTE4); include…as in the problems include…, began…as in legal depository formally began…, said…. Etc. (DTE5), enhanced…(THDE2).

There is limited use of single element VBG in the ‘Thisday’ editorial, the researcher believes it could result from the stylistics differences of the writers.

The structurally the single element VBG is represented thus:

MH type VBG

The MH type of the verbal group could take many forms, from single modifier, dual modifier and even triple modifiers. The examples of occurrences of such structures in the editorials are as below:  

Single modifier e.g  (1)(Aux+ lex. verb).  e.g are kept… as in are kept under a makeshift…, were bought…as in the machines were bought…, will ease…as in it will also ease…, has remained unattractive…as in teaching has remained.., could partner…as in…the state could partner with..  (DTE2); should spend…, (THDE3); may be…, must reject… as in we must quickly reject the idea…(THDE4); can move…,  etc.  (2) (catenative + lex.verb). There are also instances of the use of catenative + lexical verbs, as shown in the examples below:


started shooting… as in taskforce arrived at the scene and started shooting sporadically…, feel challenged…as in many Nigerians feel challenged.., kept happening as in these things kept happening, appear overwhelmed…, etc. (3) (finite verb + non-finite There are also instances of the use of finite and non-finite verbs together in a single structure. This can be seen below:  administered to test…as in primary four examination administered to test…, declined to comment as in ..The FCT police spokesman…declined to comment...). (4) (Aux+ lexical Be).Lastly, there are also instances of the use of auxiliary verb and lexical Be.  Examples can be seen below: should be…  there should be a review…(DTE5);  had been…as in had been on a geometric rise…,  has been…as in has been a major challenge


Multiple Elements VBG

There are also instances where multiple elements of VBG are seen. Some examples of these are analyzed below: has been signed…as in the bill to establish the commission has now been signed…, should be deployed to convert…, as in appropriate technology should be deployed to convert…, should be taken…as in this advantage should be taken…, are required to deposit… as in the printers are required to deposit…, should be able to submit…as in the writers should be able to submit…, are being accused… as in their officers and men are being accused of…, had been dismissed.., can be overcome.., has continue to generate harsh…, was meant to encourage…, may have doused …as in may have doused the tension…, would appear not to have engendered ….as the in the leanness of the cabinet would appear  not to have engendered any…, might have been worsened …as in..the underperformance of the cabinet might have been worsened …, would have been commended..., should be done..(THDE4); would be compromise…, should be made to function…as in… pre-primary school should be made to function within a well..., should be regulated and standardize…, should be developed… (THDE5) etc.

There are many occurrences of complex verbal group structures in some of the editorials, especially the THDE3, 4 & 5 of Thisday newspaper editorials than in the other editorials of the same newspaper and also the Daily Trust editorials. This is believed to be partly due to the style of the writer and also topic under discussion. 



There are a lot that need to be said about the structure of nominal and verbal groups, even though this paper limits itself to the experiential structure only. However, the study succeeded in bringing out the complex nature of the two groups as the most important elements of clause structure. The important conclusion to make from the editorials analyzed is that, there is no significant variation displayed in the structure of the nominal groups and verbal group in the two newspapers, vis: Daily Trust and Thisday. Both the editorials showed occurrences of H, MH, HQ and MHQ type structure in the nominal group.  Likewise, they also showed the prevalence of multiple modifier and Qualifiers. In the verbal group, both editorials showed the use of single head (H type), double element type (especially MH) and multiple elements types. It has also been observed however that most of the pre-head modifiers in the two categories of editorials have articles performing referential functions. The adjectives (epithet), numerative and classifiers following some of them perform descriptive roles. Both categories of editorials showed complex modifications which complement the meaning of the head noun.

Finally the analysis showed that systemic functional linguistics SFL provides an analytical framework which is interesting and useful for the analysis of texts. However, this is not to be understood as being to the exclusion of other possible theoretical approaches, which may well come to similar conclusions. However, it should be stressed, particularly for readers who are less familiar with SFL, that this approach to linguistic analysis is not simply a technique of textual analysis, but rather a useful theory of language. As it has been shown in this study, the experiential meta-function in SFL helps highlight the features of the text in a particularly clear, powerful, and objective fashion.


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