Sunday, May 22, 2022

How to Correct Mixed Metaphors and Malapropisms

Internet Bloopers Can Be Entertaining

Have you ever noticed while clicking around on the Internet, how often something really funny pops up on your screen? To me, the humor is even more entertaining when it is unintentional. Often the humor comes from someone using a mixed metaphor or a malapropism. They may be funny, but you should avoid them when speaking or writing.


Hints to Avoid the Use of Mixed Metaphors and Malapropisms

A metaphor is a comparison that must contain elements that can be compared logically. The comparison must be consistent. (The sun was a ball in the sky.)

A mixed metaphor combines different images or ideas in a way that is foolish or illogical, and the results are often comical or amusing.

Examples include:

  • “A  leopard can’t change his stripes." – Al Gore
  • “You need to bite the bullet and eat your piece of the pie.” – anonymous

Hints to avoid using mixed metaphors include:

  • Being sure the verb matches the action the subject of the metaphor takes.

(For instance: A car cannot march up a field; it must drive.)

  • Using only one comparison in each metaphor.
  • Avoiding clich├ęs.

A malapropism is the misuse of a word, especially by confusing two words that are similar in sound. You can avoid using malapropisms by choosing your words carefully when you speak or write.

Examples include:

“We broke up because he took me for granite.” –  a high school student

“She has chicken pops.”  my grandson

“He was a man of great statue.” – Thomas Menino, mayor of Boston"

“Be sure and put some of those neutrons on it.” –  Mike Smith, ordering a salad at a restaurant.

You can avoid using malapropisms by choosing your words carefully when you speak or write.

Your students will enjoy pointing out examples to you that they hear or read.

If you want more information and a practice exercise you can print or use in Google Drive and Easel, click here.

I hope fun and a restful summer break are within your sight. You deserve every moment of it. Feel free to email me at any time with suggestions for lessons that would be helpful for your students.

Thanks for reading,


Here are some interesting blog posts from my friends in The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative. Enjoy!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter