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.
“The president finishes speaking. He closes with a doozie of a mixed metaphor: ‘We’ve got more to do around here... than to try to dig ourselves out of these self-inflicted wounds.’ ” (Source)
“That political cover is now thrown into [the] dustbin of history parked outside the archives of prejudice, collecting its rhetorical trash.” (Source) Thanks to Paul G. Henning for spotting this.
“Fortunately, a wise person once told me that when you get your shot in life, you have to pull out all stops and go for it. The door closes very quickly once you’re out of the limelight.” (Source)
“Let me get this mixed metaphor out of the way first: the team of commentators for the Indian Premier League did a grand job of sweeping the elephant in the room under the carpet.” (Source)
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.