Posts Tagged ‘Anguished English’

A metaphor is a direct comparison, such as the second line of the poem, The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyes: “The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.”  If he’d said “The moon was like a ghostly galleon”, it would have been a simile.

Metaphors are quite useful, but when they get mixed, things get a bit, well, mixed up!  Just take a look at these gems, courtesy of Anguished English.

The sacred cows have come home to roost with a vengeance.  (I hope they have a very sturdy perch and please do NOT stand underneath it!!)

The slowdown  is accelerating.

The Sword of Damocles is hanging over Pandora’s Box.

Let dead dogs sleep.

She was a diva of such immense talent that, after hearing her perform, there was seldom a dry seat in the house.   (I can’t really comment on that one.)

Let’s hope Steve Carleton gets his curve ball straightened out.  (Perhaps Yogi was catching for this one.)

It’s difficult living in a bowl of fish.  (Unless of course you’re a fish.)

That guy’s out to butter his own nest. (Slick!)

I’m sticking my neck out on a limb.  (Ouch!!)

He was a very astute politician with both ears glued to the ground.  (Ouch again!)

The banker’s pockets are bulging with the sweat of the honest working man. (Yuk!)

Richard Lederer (again in Anguished English) points out that even Ian Fleming mixed a cocktail of metaphors at least once (shaken, though, not stirred) when he wrote: “Bond’s knees, the Achilles heel of all skiers, were beginning to ache.”  So if you happen to mangle a metaphor or three (or would that make it a meta-four?), you’re in good company.

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It’s Tuesday and after a foray into the world of superior words (did anyone use one of the words) last week, we’re back to a selection from Anguished English.  Last week, I came across my copy of More Anguished English, so we should be set for some time.  🙂  Hopefully that news elicits joyful sounds, not anguished ones!

The following jewels are from insurance reports, where drivers were asked to report their incidents in the fewest words possible.  In many cases, the extra words would have been worth it!

Possibly an unsolvable hit-and-run!

An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car, and vanished.

I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law, and headed over the embankment.

Persistence pays off in these next two.

The pedestrian ran for the pavement, but I got him.

The guy was all over the road.  I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.

I was thrown from my car as it left the road.  I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.

Not something you see every day!!

The accident happened when the right front door of a car came around the corner without giving a signal.

My car sustained no damage whatsoever and the other car somewhat less.

I would have loved to have seen this one.  It gives the term “footloose” an entirely different meaning!

One wheel went into the ditch.  My foot jumped from brake to accelerator, leaped across the road to the other side, and jumped into the trunk of a tree.

I’m surprised this didn’t happen soon!!  I’ve driven 16 hours a time, but never 40 years!

I had been driving for about 40 years, when I fell sleep at the wheel and had an accident.

This might be my favorite, at least if I don’t read over all the rest. I’m left wondering which of them had the rear end trouble, but not at all  amazed that you’d have an accident if your universal joint gave way!  I must have forgotten that part from my anatomy class.

I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way, causing me to have an accident.

May you have an uneventful week, with no rear end or universal joint problems!

Disclaimer:  As usual on a Tuesday (and Wednesday), I have to work all day, so excuse any lateness getting to your blog post. It’s not that I don’t want to get there, it’s sometimes that I just don’t have time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m writing this on Monday afternoon with chicken stock simmering on the stove, something to combat the cold outside.  I exercised this morning, both on the treadmill and on the weight machines, but now I’m going to exercise my laughing muscles.  You’re welcome to give yours a workout as well.

As usual, at least so far, all examples are from Richard Lederer’s manual on how misuse of the English language can make us laugh, Anguished English.  Have any of you picked up a copy either at the library or bookstore since you started reading the Language Abuse posts?  I hope at least a few of you have enjoyed them enough to do so.  But now, without further ado or even much ado about nothing, let’s take a look at signs that might give a rather different impression to the reader than was expected by the creator of the sign.

In a New York restaurant:  Customers who consider our waitresses uncivil ought to see the manager.

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Sam Goldwyn, legendary movie producer, was known for more than just his movies.  He was also know for his mangling of English, as shown by a few of the examples from Anguished English.  Ready?  Roll ’em.

A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

I’ll give you a definite maybe.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.

I never like you and I always will.

When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.

Let’s have some new clichés.

A bachelor’s life is no life for a single man.

Our comedies are not to be laughed at.

I never put on a pair of shoes until I’ve worn them five years.

I may not always be right, but I’m never wrong.

 

 

It’s Tuesday, so it must be time for a language abuse post.  Today is all about modifiers that aren’t placed in the right place, thus conveying rather different meanings than the writers intended, more fun from Richard Lederer’s Anguished English.  Hang on, because here we go.

No one was injured in the blast, which was attributed to a buildup of gas by one town official.

Yoko Ono will talk about her husband, John Lennon, who was killed in an interview with Barbara Walters.

Plunging 1,000 feet into the gorge, we saw Yosemite Falls.

CALF BORN TO FARMER WITH TWO HEADS.

Two cars were reported stolen by the Groveton police yesterday.

After years of being lost under a pile of dust, Chester D. Thatcher III found all the old records of the Bangor Lions Club at the Bangor House.

Do not sit in chair without being fully assembled.

Here are some suggestions for handling obscene phone calls from New England Telephone Company.

The judge sentenced the killer to die in the electric chair for the second tie.

Here’s the end of history as we know is or, rather, as we didn’t know it. Unfortunately, the bloopers only go up to WWI, but don’t worry, there will be lots more fun with words on the following Tuesdays.  Now on to the fun!

During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. Later, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean, and this was called Pilgrim’s Progress. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers.  Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

One of the causes of the Revolutionary War was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the post without stamps.  During the War, the Red Coast and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls.  The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.

Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin had gone to Boston carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm. He invented electricity by rubbing two cats backwards and declared, “A horse divided against itself cannot stand.” Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

George Washington married Martha Curtis and in due time became the Father of Our Country. Then the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. His farewell address was Mount Vernon.

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Are your ready for some more fractured history?  We’ll start with the Middle Ages, when everyone was middle-aged,  and end with Shakespeare and his contemporaries.  Thanks again to Richard Lederer and his hilarious book, Anguished English.  As I’m mentioned before, he has a number of other books that will keep you laughing.  Pick one up and tell me if I’m wrong…if you’re able to get the words out while giggling.

Warning!!  Do NOT consume hot beverages or even food while reading unless prepared to do laundry and clean up your surroundings.  You have been warned!!

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Then came the Middle Ages, when everyone was middle aged. King Alfred conquered the Dames. King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery with brave knights on prancing horses and beautiful women. King Harold mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings.

Joan of Arc was cannonized by George Bernard Shaw. And victims of the blue-bonnet plague brew boobs on their necks.  Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense.

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