Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 165):
A figure embodies both analysis and synthesis of our experience of the world: an analysis into component parts, and a synthesis of these parts into a configuration. That is, process, participants and circumstances are separated out analytically and are thus given independent phenomenal statuses. This is a creative act of construal. The world is not seamless and amorphous; it is highly variable in the way it presents itself to us as experience — in its perceptual salience, physical impact and material and psychological benefit. But it is not “given” to us as an established order; we have to construe it.