This article discusses the semiotic resources of incongruence that Chinese English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners use when writing academic texts. Using Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) as the theoretical framework, this study examines a cross-sectional sampling of Chinese EFL learners' deployment of grammatical metaphor (GM), a key linguistic resource for achieving academic discourse. Although GM occurs across languages, most research focuses on its use in English among first language learners and its effect on language through the reconstrual of dynamic meanings statically, through increased degrees of technicality, and logical reasoning within the clause. Furthermore, much of the research only accounts for full and appropriate deployment of GM, disregarding incomplete or intermediate realizations as 'mistakes' attributed to normal learning processes. The present study, however, aims to expand the theoretical understandings for mapping GM in second and foreign language learning contexts, seeking to identify how such 'mistakes' may contribute to and even achieve the linguistic effects of GM necessary for making meanings valued in academic discourse.