What is the Opposite of Parataxis

The opposite of parataxis is hypotaxis, which involves using subordinating conjunctions, such as because, although, and since, to create a hierarchy of clauses. These conjunctions introduce dependent clauses that provide additional information or support the main clause. Hypotaxis creates a more complex and structured sentence structure than parataxis, as the dependent clauses are grammatically subordinate to the main clause.


Hypotaxis is a grammatical construction in which one clause is subordinate to another. In other words, a subordinate clause cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. Subordinate clauses are typically introduced by subordinating conjunctions, such as “because”, “although”, “if”, “when”, and “that”.

  • **Dependent Clause:** A clause that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence because it lacks a subject or a verb.
  • **Independent Clause:** A clause that can stand alone as a complete sentence and has both a subject and a verb.

Hypotaxis can be used to create complex sentences that express complex relationships between ideas. For example, the following sentence uses hypotaxis to express the relationship between the two clauses:

Because it was raining, we decided to stay home.

In this sentence, the subordinate clause “Because it was raining” explains the reason for the action described in the independent clause “we decided to stay home”.

Here is a table summarizing the key differences between parataxis and hypotaxis:

StructureClauses are joined by coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet)Clauses are joined by subordinating conjunctions (because, although, if, when, that)
MeaningClauses are grammatically equalClauses are grammatically unequal
EffectCreates simple, direct sentencesCreates complex sentences that express complex relationships between ideas


Subordination is the opposite of parataxis, a literary device involving the use of short, choppy sentences to convey a sense of urgency or informality. Unlike parataxis, which uses few or no conjunctions, subordination employs conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions to connect clauses and create a more complex sentence structure.

  • Conjunctions connect words, phrases, or clauses of equal rank. Examples of conjunctions include: and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet.
  • Subordinating conjunctions introduce subordinate clauses, which are dependent on the main clause for their meaning. Examples of subordinating conjunctions include: because, although, until, after, since, if.

Subordination allows writers to create sentences with varying degrees of complexity and emphasis. By using subordinating conjunctions, writers can indicate relationships between ideas, such as cause and effect, time, or condition.


I went to the store. I bought some milk.

I went to the store because I needed to buy some milk.

The sun was shining. The birds were singing.

While the sun was shining, the birds were singing.

## Opposite of Parataxis

Parataxis is a literary technique that uses simple sentences connected by conjunctions to create a sense of equality and immediacy. Its opposite is **hypotaxis**, which uses complex sentences with subordinating conjunctions to create a sense of hierarchy and formality.

### Hierarchical Structure

Hypotaxis creates a hierarchical structure by subordinating one clause to another. This can be done using:

– **Adverbial clauses:** Express time, place, manner, reason, or condition.
– **Adjective clauses:** Describe nouns or pronouns.
– **Noun clauses:** Function as nouns within a sentence.

Here’s an example of a hypotactic sentence:

Although the weather was bad, we still went on the hike.

The adverbial clause “Although the weather was bad” is subordinated to the main clause “we still went on the hike.” This creates a hierarchy where the main clause is the most important, while the adverbial clause provides additional information.

### Table of Subordinating Conjunctions

| Type of Clause | Subordinating Conjunctions |
| Adverbial Time | until, since, before, after, when |
| Adverbial Place | where, wherever |
| Adverbial Manner | as, how |
| Adverbial Reason | because, since, as |
| Adverbial Condition | if, unless, although, though |
| Adjective | who, whom, which, that |
| Noun | that, whether, if |

The Opposite of Parataxis: Complex Clauses

In literature, parataxis is a literary device that uses simple sentences and few conjunctions to create a sense of immediacy and directness. Its opposite, complex clauses, employs more complex sentences with multiple clauses and conjunctions to create a more nuanced and detailed narrative or description.

Complex Clauses Structure

A complex clause consists of an independent clause and one or more dependent clauses. The independent clause can stand alone as a complete thought, while the dependent clause provides additional information and cannot stand alone.

Types of Dependent Clauses

  • Adverbial Clauses: Express time, place, or manner (e.g., “when I woke up,” “where the sun was shining,” “how quickly it passed”)
  • Adjectival Clauses: Modify nouns or pronouns (e.g., “that makes me happy,” “who is my friend”)
  • Noun Clauses: Function as nouns (e.g., “I know what you did,” “I believe that you are correct”)


Conjunctions connect clauses and indicate the relationship between them. Common subordinating conjunctions used in complex clauses include:

  • because
  • although
  • since
  • until
  • when

Table: Parataxis vs. Complex Clauses

ParataxisComplex Clauses
Simple sentencesMultiple clauses
Few conjunctionsSubordinating conjunctions
Direct and immediateDetailed and nuanced

Well, there you have it, the opposite of parataxis revealed! These two opposing styles can create vastly different effects in your writing, so experiment with them to discover which ones best suit your needs. Thanks for hanging out, reading, and expanding your writing horizons with us. We’d love for you to stop by again soon for more writing tips and insights. Stay tuned!