Thursday, February 18, 2010

A few amusing examples of mixed metaphors (6)

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 may distract our readers and impede information and persuasion. Here are a few amusing mixed metaphors:

Example of a mixed metaphor


A January 26 article, “Heat and Austrian Economics,” includes this:

“That is what the Federal Reserve is all about. The politically favored get to belly up, like hogs at a trough, to the ‘Discount Window’ where the currency creation is doled out.”

Humans, because they walk upright, can belly up to bars. Hogs, because they walk on all fours, cannot belly up to a trough; their bellies face the ground, not the trough. The presence of the word window arguably makes this mixed metaphor a triple.

Example of a mixed metaphor

Source: Brisbane Times

A January 1 article, “Filed under ‘F’ - for flash of genius,” includes this:

“Stuart Appleby on the state of his golf game, hits them out of the park in the mixed metaphor competition: ‘It's not like I’m swinging horrendously, but I am finding it difficult. I can’t be in the wrong shed. I’m in the right shed with the right tools, and I’m just trying to start the old battery to crank the whole thing over.’ ”

Example of a mixed metaphor

Source: BBC

A December 30 page, “Wednesday football as it happened,” includes this:

“From Keith, Chesterfield, via text: ‘On Radio Sheffield on Monday a caller stated that he’d heard Steve Cotterill had already turned down one job [Cheltenham] as he knew there was "a bigger fish around the corner" I do love a mixed metaphor.’ ”

The Takeaway:
Mixed metaphors may distract your readers. They may even make your prose impossible to understand. Ideally, you should have someone edit your copy (mixed metaphors are more easily spotted by the reader than by the writer).

Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to show and explain examples of clear and unclear writing and speech. Accordingly, I select examples for the diction they contain, not the ideas they express. I promote no political position – unless you consider clarity a political position.

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