Thursday, April 21, 2011

A few amusing examples of mixed metaphors (11)

Mixed metaphors can be amusing. 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.

Example of a mixed metaphor

Ian O’Doherty asks, “Are you one of those busy little worker ants who spends their day beavering away (now there's a mixed metaphor for you to savour) at their desk…?”

Example of a mixed metaphor

Robyne Young tweets, “Love a mixed metaphor. Heard today. Silly as a two bob idiot. Maybe watches are out of fashion.”

Note: “As silly as a two-bob watch” is an Australian slang expression.

Example of a mixed metaphor

Tim Case writes, “If not, the quagmire of self destruction in which societies have placed themselves will run its course until nothing of the former civilization is left, but a rotting shell of its former self. This is another natural law which will not be denied.”

The Takeaway: Mixed metaphors can distract your readers. In some cases, they make your prose impossible to understand. Ideally, you should have someone edit your copy, because it is difficult to spot your own mixed metaphors. To understand why it is difficult, read this insightful piece by New York Times columnist David Brooks.

See disclaimer.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorites from Austin Powers, "Sadly Vanessa, that train has sailed"