Thursday, December 22, 2011

A heavy user of mixed metaphors

All writers occasionally distract their readers by inadvertently using mixed metaphors. You do it, I do it, we all do it. But some writers use mixed metaphors heavily.

For example, here is an essay that contains many mixed metaphors. I quote four below (boldface added):

Even a minor foreign policy or economic event like a Greek default or Middle East crisis could reap [sic for wreak] havoc with the precarious interlocking sovereign debt pyramid in the West.

Of course, no nation wants a collapse – especially China – because a western debt collapse and write down is certainly uncharted financial waters and the contagion risks are global.

Consequently, after 30 years of watching, writing and creating protective retirement planning and financial strategies, today I'm finally going to yell “FIRE” inside the closed “financial iron curtain” which is America.

I do not have a crystal ball or inside political information on a specific imminent threat, only the observation that the sovereign debt crisis from Europe, a debt ceiling misstep from the clowns in Washington or a Middle East event could suddenly trigger the collapse. [Clowns in Washington are walking upside down on the ceiling!]

I don’t mean to pick on this writer; many other financial writers are equally heavy users of mixed metaphors.

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.

See disclaimer.

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