Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Impermissible Mixed Metaphors


Impermissible mixed metaphors are metaphors that conflict because they serve different purposes.



The argument-as-journey and argument-as-container metaphors serve different purposes. Argument-as-journey can address the “direction” of the argument and the argument-as-container can address the “amount of content” of the argument. The incompatibility of the ideas of “direction” and “amount” in the same sentence makes the following examples semantically impermissible:

  • * We can now follow the path of the core of the argument.
  • * The content of the argument proceeds as follows.
  • * The direction of his argument has no content.
  • * I am disturbed by the vacuous path of your argument.