The semi-composite sentence is to be defined as a sentence with more than one predicative lines which are expressed in fusion. One of these lines can be identified as the leading or dominant, the others making the semi-predicative expansion of the sentence. The semi-composite sentence displays an intermediary syntactic character between the composite sentence and the simple sentence.
There are two different causes of the existence of the semi-composite sentence in language, each of them being essentially important in itself. The first cause is the tendency of speech to be economical. The second cause is that the semi-composite sentence fulfils its own purely semantic function, different from the function of the composite sentence proper. It is used to show that the events described in the corresponding sentence parts are more closely connected than the events described in the parts of the composite sentence of complete composition. This function is inherent in the structure - it reflects the speaker's view of reality, his presentation of it.
Semi-composite sentences can be of two types:
- semi-compound (e.g. He looked at me and went away.)
- semi-complex (e.g. The man stood silent.)
The semi-compound sentence is a semi-composite sentence built up on the principle of coordination. The structure of the semi-compound sentence is derivationally to be traced back to minimum two base sentences having an identical element belonging to one or both of their principal syntactic positions, i.e. either the subject, or the predicate, or both.
The semi-compound sentence of subject coordination(There was nothing else, only her face in front of me.) is derived from minimum two base sentences having identical predicates, e.g. two subjects relate to one predicate when they are discontinuously positioned, so that the first starts the utterance, while the second concludes it with some kind of process-referred introduction.
The semi-compound sentence of predicate coordination (e.g. The soldier was badly wounded, but stayed in the ranks.) is derived from minimum two base sentences having identical subjects. One of the base sentences becomes the leading clause of complete structure, while the other one is transformed into the sequential coordinate semi-clause (expansion) referring to the same subject.
The semi-complexsentence is a semi-composite sentence built up on the principle of subordination. The semi-complex sentences fall into a number of subtypes. Their basic division is dependent on the character of predicative fusion: this may be effected either by the process of position-sharing (word-sharing), or by the process of direct linear expansion.
The sentences based on position-sharing fall into those of subject-sharing (e.g. The moon rose red.) and those of object-sharing (e.g. I saw him come.).
Semi-complex sentences of subject-sharing are built up by means of the two base sentences overlapping round the common subject.
Semi-complex sentences of object-sharing are built up of two base sentences overlapping round the word performing different functions in them: in the matrix sentence it is the object in the insert sentence it is the subject. The complicator expansion of such sentences is commonly called the "complex object".
The sentences based on semi-predicative linear expansion fall into those of attributive complication (e.g. This is a novel translated from Greek.), adverbial complication (e.g. When asked about it, he always kept silent.), and nominal-phrase complication (e.g. For me to learn it is easy.). Each subtype is related to a definite complex sentence as its explicit structural prototype.
Semi-complex sentences of attributive complication are derived from two base sentences having an identical element that occupies the position of the subject in the insert sentence and any notional position in the matrix sentence. The insert sentence is usually an expanded one.
Semi-complex sentences of adverbial complication are derived from two base sentences one of which, the insert sentence, is predicatively reduced and embedded in an adverbial position of the other one, the matrix sentence.
Semi-complex sentences of nominal phrase complication are derived from two base sentences one of which, the insert sentence, is partially norminalised (changed into a verbal phrase of infinitival or gerundial type) and embedded in one of the nominal and prepositional adverbial positions of the other sentence serving as the matrix. The gerundial phrase is of a more substantive semantic character, the infinitival phrase is of a more processual semantic character. The gerundial nommalisalion involves the optional change of the noun subject into the possessive, while the infinitival nominalisation involves the use of the preposition for before the subject.