An ELT Glossary : Parataxis


Parataxis is the juxtaposition of clauses without linking them with co-ordinating or subordinating conjucnctions. It occurs in informal spoken language as in the following extract where someone is describing a trip by cross-channel ferry :

Well, you just drive the thing on - you get out of it - you take what you want - you lock the car up - you, you, you go to....  (Crystal and Davy, 1975:53 Advanced Conversational English)

and also as a rhetorical device in genre such as political speeches, advertising and literature : 

Political speeches  

I came, I saw, I conquered (Julius Caesar)

The challenge is clear. The global economy is contracting. Trade is shrinking. unemployment is rising. The international finance system is nearly frozen. (Barack Obama, G20 London summit, 2009)

Advertising  

Tastes more like Coke. Looks more like Coke  (Coca Cola Zero Sugar)

Avoid disappointment. Order now.  (Many advertisements)



Literature

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way...(Charles Dickens, 1861, Great Expectations)

Manuel drank his brandy. He felt sleepy himself. It was too hot to go out into the town. (Ernest Hemingway, 1927, The Undefeated)