Covalent functionalisation of graphene is a continuously progressing field of research. The optical properties of such derivatives attract particular attention. In virtually all optical responses, however, an enhancement in peak intensity with increase of sp 3 carbon content, and a vanishing of the peak position shift in monolayer compared to few-layer systems, is observed. The understanding of these seemingly connected phenomena is lacking. Here we demonstrate, using Raman spectroscopy and in situ electrostatic doping techniques, that the intensity is directly modulated by an additional contribution from photoluminescent π-conjugated domains surrounded by sp 3 carbon regions in graphene monolayers. The findings are further underpinned by a model which correlates the individual Raman mode intensities to the degree of functionalisation. We also show that the position shift in the spectra of solvent-based and powdered functionalised graphene derivatives originates predominantly from the presence of edge-to-edge and edge-to-basal plane interactions and is by large functionalisation independent.