Mixed metaphors

The writers on our magazine try to make their copy as descriptive as possible, but sometimes they get carried away with this and a mixed metaphor is the result.

For example, one of our writers last week wrote that an interviewee "cut his teeth on the coalface of the parcels industry", which brings an interesting image to mind. Taking out "cut his teeth" still left us with a parcels industry that had a coalface, so in the end we recast the sentence completely: "learnt his trade on the operations side of the parcels industry".


Anonymous said...

"learnt" or "learned"?

JD (The Engine Room) said...

I can't remember the exact sentence - might have been "having learnt his trade...", using the third form of the verb. I know some people would use 'learned' here - the OED lists 'learnt' as acceptable but "chiefly British".