Thursday 9 August 2018

Grammar: Mixed Metaphors 16

She follows the well-trodden but not hugely accurate party line… (You don’t walk along a party line, you all stand with your toes against it. “Toeing the line” was already a metaphor. A “party line” was a shared phone line before it became Communist Party orthodoxy.)

Arlene Foster and her party had the chance to lead and make solid the shallow path forged by Protestant Irish-language activist, Linda Ervine… (If something is too shallow, you need to deepen it, not solidify it. But paths aren’t shallow or deep – metaphorical paths are usually wide or narrow. So she could widen the path. But paths aren’t forged – chains, links and agreements are forged. Also swords, ploughshares and horseshoes. How do you create a path? If you build a better mousetrap, people will beat a path to your door – by wearing it down with their feet. If you stray, you leave the beaten track. So how about “Arlene Foster and her party had the chance to lead, and widen the narrow path beaten by Protestant Irish-language activist, Linda Ervine… Comma necessary because Arlene is not leading the path.)

We must be prepared to reap the social media trail that we have sown. (If you sow a crop that you are planning to harvest, you don’t sow it along a trail.)

the pitched fork Twitter mob (Murderous mobs carry pitchforks and lighted torches, according to the 1932 film of Frankenstein.)

There's been a slow trickle of gathering momentum that has been building over the past couple of years, I believe. I really do think we are reaching that tipping point, the paradigm shift which will begin the true change that is needed for the planet and living things.

You may be “American” by citizenship, but you are a bite from a melting pot. (Sarah Parcak. Melting pots are full of molten metal which is about to turn into an alloy.)

click up your heels (You kick your heels against the wall you are sitting on because you have nothing else to do. You kick up your heels when having a wild time – dancing the cancan, no doubt. Very polite Germans used to click their heels together when bowing.)

A conspiracy with more holes in it than the Grand Canyon. (Amazon commenter That’s “Swiss cheese”, or “sieve”, or “moth-eaten jumper” or anything else that is full of holes. The Grand Canyon is one huge hole.)

The mall shuttered its doors in 2015. (It shut its doors, and pulled down the shutters. Americans talk about defunct enterprises being “shuttered”.)

Since Kim Jong-il's death, the shutters have been drawn even tighter in N. Korea. (Globe and Mail A shutter is either open or closed.)

Looks like the theory of evolution was like a house of cards built on sinking sand. (@PlainTruth777 A house of cards is likely to collapse. Jesus talked of a shaky house built on sand. You don’t want to sink into a quicksand. Shifting sands are found in deserts.)

We mustn’t stain our blotter! (Blot our copybook – but when did children last write in copybooks, with a pen that might leave blots? A blotter is the thing you blot the blots with. You also don’t want a blot on your escutcheon or coat of arms.)

Tasmanian devils are on the cliff of extinction. (Cliff-edge perhaps, but it’s usually “brink”.)

Farley’s joined Clarks’ shoes on a long rollcall of big local businesses in Plymouth. (Guardian 2018 On a long roll. “Rollcall” is when you read out the roll and everybody replies “here!”.)

The proof’s in the pudding. (The proof of the pudding is in the eating. “The proof’s in the pudding” is meaningless.)

The needles are getting ever so close to breaking the camel's back. (Via Twitter, confusing needles in a haystack – difficult to find – with the last straw that breaks the back of the overloaded camel.)

If you can’t stand the heat, get back in the kitchen. (It's "get out of the kitchen". The kitchen is hot because the Aga is lit.)

Did Hitler survive? There is the silver bullet of “no body”. (A “smoking gun” is a strong indication that a gun has just been fired. A “silver bullet” is the only thing that will kill a werewolf.)

A number of bastions have bowed to the pressure to change. (They mean “holdout”. A bastion is a fortified tower manned by soldiers.)

Agatha Christie is at it again, lifting the lid off delphiniums and weaving the scarlet warp all over the pastel pouffe. (Contemporary review of The Moving Finger.)

There’s an elephant in the room here that undergirds all of this... (Twitter)

This parson’s egg of a book... (Times. It is very specifically a curate’s egg. The curate is having breakfast with the bishop. Bishop: I’m afraid you have got a bad egg. Curate: I assure you, my Lord, parts of it are excellent!)

More here, and links to the rest.

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