|Joe Philbin, Head Coach, Miami Dolphins|
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. Here are four recent examples of mixed metaphors:
“The issue that I’m getting at is that there’s not enough, racial, cultural, or gender diversity in game development to create this really lush palette of voices that we need to help move the medium forward.” (Source)
“With one economic fluctuation taking the wind out of the sails of industries that employ that nucleus of well-compensated young people who keep the house of cards from toppling, the entire edifice could come crashing down, leaving urban centers hollowed out just as they were in the 70s and 80s.” (Source)
“Gathering a kindling and setting on fire the hot seat under [Miami Dolphins Head Coach Joe] Philbin should also be on the table, because this was the kind of uneven performance against a winless team that sets people on the road to being fired.” (Thanks to Paul G. Henning for spotting this wonderful mess.) (Source)*
“You buttered your bread…. Now lie in it.” (Probably intentional.) (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.