Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Mixed Metaphors


Mixed metaphors are different metaphors occurring in the same utterance, especially the same sentence, that are used to express the same concept.

Mixed metaphors often, but not always, result in a conflict of concepts.



The following sentences illustrate a mixture of the argument-as-journey and argument-as-container metaphors. The first three sentences are acceptable; the last two are marginally acceptable.

  • At this point our argument doesn’t have much content.
  • In what we’ve done so far, we have provided the core of our argument.
  • If we keep going the way we’re going, we’ll fit all the facts in.
  • ??We can now follow the path of the core of the argument.
  • ??The content of the argument proceeds as follows …
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