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.
Examples of mixed metaphors
Nicholas Carlson, writing in Business Insider about Facebook’s quarterly earnings meeting, says:
“We’ll have live, wall-to-wall coverage on the earnings, breaking out all interesting angles.” (Emphasis added.)
The National Post reports:
“There are lots of reasons for Ford to want to be an MPP, and some for the Tories to wish him to be so, but caution is absolutely warranted – especially since Toronto (and surrounding area) is absolutely must win for the PCs. They lost the last election by bombing out there despite virtually matching the Liberals in overall popular support. A loose cannon firing madly from the hip (mixed metaphor, yes) during the next campaign, especially in the GTA, can’t be something Hudak and his team would approach lightly.” (Emphasis added.)
A Kentucky judge writes:
“Such news of an amicable settlement (has) made this Court happier than a tick on a fat dog because it is otherwise busier than a one legged cat in a sand box and, quite frankly would have rather jumped naked off a twelve foot step ladder into a five gallon bucket of porcupines than have presided over a two week trial of the herein dispute, a trial which, no doubt would have made the jury more confused than a hungry baby in a topless bar and made the parties and their attorneys madder than mosquitoes in a mannequin factory.” (Emphasis added.)
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.