By: Adip Arifin
• Types of Theme
• Gerot and Wignell (1994:103)
Theme as the element(s) which come(s)
first in the clause, and the rest of the
clause is called rheme.
• Thornbury (2005: 38)
What the sentence is about (its topic) and
what the writer or speaker wants to tell
you about the topic (the comment)
• Theme is the given information serving as
“the point of departure of a message”.
(Halliday and Matthiensen (2004:64)
• Rheme is the remainder of the message in a
clause which Theme is developed (Halliday
and Hasan, 2004: 64-65).
I come from down in the valley
Our dog, Rufus
limped into the room.
His back paw
was red with infection
forgot all about it.
was distracted by the snarling cat
began to chase her
but his paw
was throbbing painfully.
turned to Sammy for comfort and attention.
• Unmarked topical themes
Nominal group as theme
e.g.: Jack went up the hill.
Nominal group complex as Theme
e.g.: Jack and Jill went up the hill.
e.g.: (What Jack and Jill did) was go
up the hill.
• Marked topical themes
Adverbial as theme
e.g.: Down Jack fell.
Prepositional phrase as theme
e.g.: Up the hill Jack and Jill went.
Complement as theme
e.g.: His crown he broke.
• Continuatives as Theme (well, right,
OK, now, anyway, of course, etc)
e.g.: Well, anyway, we arrived on time.
• Connective as Theme (moreover,
furthermore, on the other hand, etc)
e.g.: Moreover, Mr. Johnson, the
problem itself is simply too
complex to solve now.
• Vocative as Theme
e.g.: Dearly beloved we are gathered
Sweety, we decided to wait until
• Process as Theme
e.g.: Give me that book, please.
• The system of Theme and Rheme provides
important ways in which textual meanings at
the clause level may be established.
• Theme-Rheme structure allows information
to flow from one clause to another smoothly.
cohesiveness of the text.