Monday, November 16, 2009

A few amusing examples of mixed metaphors (4)

Mixed metaphors are often amusing, as these examples illustrate. However, we writers are usually more interested in informing and persuading our readers than in amusing them. Mixed metaphors can distract our readers and impede information and persuasion.

Here are a few amusing mixed metaphors:


Apparently the mayor of Nashville, TN, wants Nashville to be a World Cup host. The Tennessean reported November 10 that, after making a presentation to U.S. Soccer officials, Mayor Karl Dean said, “I think we hit a homerun...” (Thanks to Post Politics.)


On “Top Chef Las Vegas”:

“She’s oftentimes been lucky enough to be the lesser of two equals. Hopefully the buck’s about to run out on that one.” (Thanks to the kitchn.)


From What’s Happening to American English? (1978) by Arn Tibbetts and Charlene Tibbetts, page 6:

“ ‘Everything was coming up roses for a young west suburban married couple as long as two pay-checks – his and hers – were rolling in. Then came the first of five children. And the cozy little two-paycheck dream world of Donald B. and his wife, Phyllis, collapsed into a rat race – slowly at first. Then the vicious circle of debt accumulation began to close in. When its grip was total, it embraced the young couple in $5,000 worth of debts.’ It is significant that university English majors preparing to teach usually do not see anything strange in that passage. Nor, apparently, did the writer who shifts through metaphors involving roses, rolling in, dream world, rat race, and a vicious circle that closes, grips, and embraces.”

The Takeaway: When editing your own copy, watch for mixed metaphors. Ideally, get someone to edit your copy. For some reason, others can spot our mixed metaphors much more easily than we can.

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