Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 326, 328):
… we can identify a small number of vectors along which words capable of functioning as Thing are ordered in terms of the grammar, so that the functional potential of any one noun or pronoun will be suggested by its location on each of these vectors. These are:
- countability: count/mass
- animacy: conscious/non-conscious
- generality: general/particular …
We can use these scales — countability, animacy, generality — as a way of locating things in lexicogrammatical space.