Elements of Eloquence Single Line Challenge, Chapter 11: Hypotaxis, Parataxis, Asyndeton and Polysyndeton

Just when we’d decided to start combining chapters, it turns out our Author, Mark Forsyth, had a similar idea. (The book is Elements of Eloquence. You should check out his other books, too!)

You really must read this chapter. This is where the bulk of linguistic passion is deposited – this and the final bit, the Peroration.

It seems I’m on the verge of violating the terms of Fair Use, so I won’t spell things out this time. Read the chapter! It will do you good!

King Charles II of England, who knighted a guy for mastering Parataxis.

We have two pairs of opposites: Hypotaxis and Parataxis are the first; and Asyndeton and Polysyndeton are the second. I’m pretty sure Parataxis requires Polysyndeton. But Hypotaxis appears to be possible with either variety of Syndeton.

Enjoy your reading and writing. Having several times read and re-read this chapter myself, I now intend to challenge myself with the pleasant duty of writing several prose sentences in the various methods laid out here.

BTW, is all formal verse Polysyndeton?

There came at last,
and far too fast,
(or so they say
who fell that day)
a sound, a sound,
a mighty sound,
that thundered roundly
from the ground;
and up they came,
the desperate dead;
and up they chucked,
the sons of Red.

by me. means nothing at all. just a bit of fun.

Chapter 10
Chapters 12 and 13

1 Comment »

  1. Here you go. I tried; I really did. I think it’s a fine cake. At least, it tastes fine. Here you go. (Parataxis with asyndeton.)

    He came out, and began running, and when he ran he did this hilarious thing with his knees; but never mind, because it’s one of those things you have to see for yourself. (Parataxis with polysyndeton.)

    He began to climb, although he was weary and sore; and as he climbed there fell over him the shadow of that beast of the air which, when the world was scarce made, arose before its time – each species, as we know, arose in its own time and order; excepting this – and which, when Adam named the animals, hid (for something which, were it found in man, would be called shame, but which, in this brute beast was but a troubled sensation in the fowl’s breast) and thus remains, until Adam shall be raised again, nameless. (Hypotaxis.)


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