In school we were all taught what a metaphor is. And whether we still remember exactly what they are, all of us will use metaphors in our natural language every day – spoken or written.
What we might not be so familiar with, is the mixed metaphor. These linguistic works of art do exactly what they say on the tin; blend two metaphors together. See what I did there?
Good and bad mixed metaphors
That was deliberate, but what you will often find is that you create them by accident from your subconscious. I once heard it said that a golfer ‘pulled a late surge out of the bag’ – a wonderful mixed metaphor. At the other end of the spectrum, you could perhaps imagine a David Brent type spewing corporate jargon along the lines of, ‘Now that the ball is in our court, there is light at the end of the tunnel.’
Other examples of clumsy mixed metaphors – possibly uttered by politicians – include, ‘Tearing up white elephants and sacred cows by the roots’ and ‘tackling a hot potato which others will not grasp’.
At their best, mixed metaphors can add panache to your writing. At their worst, they can be cringe-worthy or just confusing. They may come out in your writing accidentally, but the trick is to recognise when you use one and decide whether it should take centre stage or be consigned to the rubbish heap!
Help with your writing
If you need advanced help with your writing, using a copywriter is normally the best way forward.
At On Point Copywriting, we have years of experience in crafting marketing messages that persuade readers to take action. We understand how you can use linguistic constructions – like mixed metaphors – to make really nuanced intelligent points. But also know that often, the skill is in making the message simpler.
Whether you need help with ideas and concept, writing, copy-editing or proof reading get in touch with us today. Let’s talk about how we can help you.