Monday, March 7, 2016

“Rocket surgery”

[Dustin , March 7, 2016. Click for a larger view.]

Dustin is a witty comic strip. Nicely punctuated, too.

I just reached the discussion of overworked metaphors in Sir Ernest Gowers’s The Complete Plain Words. On the danger of “falling into incongruity”:

Nothing is easier to do; almost all writers fall occasionally into this trap. But it is worth while to take great pains to avoid doing so, because a reader who notices it will deride you. So we should not speak of increasing or waiving a ceiling, or say that it is beginning to bite. Possibilities more unpleasant than the writer can have intended are suggested by the warning to Civil Defence Workers that many persons who experienced a nuclear explosion will have diarrhoea and vomiting and should not be allowed to swamp the medical services.

The Complete Plain Words , rev. Sidney Greenbaum and Janet Whitcut (Boston: David R. Godine, 1988).
More metaphors in trouble
A-Rod’s medicine : Carpetbagging beaver and drunken horse, tired as dogs : Chipping away at a heel : Cliffs and goalposts : Dripping and sketching : End-of-day lunch : Force-feeding and dog-earing : From a back-pocket beacon to a cog : Harvesting : Heels and hackles : Icarus : The nation’s midsection : Plates and juggling : Prongs and platforms : Race, gun battle, prizefight : Resurrection : The sides of the spectrum : Tackling and dissecting : “With the cliff behind us”

And: Too many to list here.

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