Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 150-1):
In the most general terms […] the principle is that all phenomena can be interpreted as falling within a small number of broad experiential domains:those happening “inside”, within the realm of our own consciousness;
those happening “outside”, in the perceptual world that lies around us;
those that are not kinds of happening at all, but rather kinds of being and of relating to something else.We have referred to these as, respectively:(1) figures of sensing — or, more inclusively, (since ‘languaging’ is treated as a distinct phenomenal realm), (1) figures of sensing and
(2) figures of saying;
(3) figures of doing — or, more explicitly (since the word ‘doing’ might suggest intentionality), figures of doing & happening;
(4) figures of being — or more accurately (since ‘having’ is construed as a kind of relative ‘being’), figures of being & having.Each of these types of figure has its own special character, as revealed by the way it is organised in the lexicogrammar.