Two Taxis

Always be strategic in writing and speaking, so that your content drives your intention. Should you lean more toward Hemingway’s bone-lean style, or be more extravagant, like Faulkner? It depends on the impression you wish to deliver.

Parataxis is the use of short, punchy sentences, that all tend to carry the same weight or value. “Manuel drank his brandy. He felt sleepy himself. It was too hot to go out into the town. Besides there was nothing to do” wrote Hemingway. Adopting this style conveys certainty and commitment. You exhibit authority, while driving action or enlisting support.

Hypotaxis creates various levels of weight, and provides an emotional cast to speaking or writing. Faulkner wrote “He did not feel weak, he was merely luxuriating in that supremely gutful lassitude of convalescence in which time, hurry, doing, did not exist…” This style creates portraits with nuance, but may frustrate audiences with a short attention span, or those seeking quick answers and clarity.

Bottom line. Read your audience, so that you can adjust the ratio of hypo to para. Over the course of a longer presentation, employ both taxis to reach your goal.

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