Should Some People Be Banned From Writing?

As a writer I am constantly in a state of choosing the right metaphor, something that will enhance my writing, make it go down smooth as silk. I love metaphors. For me, it is what makes for good, interesting prose. I realize everyone might not be of the same opinion but I’m not here to argue my case. –Thank goodness.

Granted, it’s not always easy to come up with a great metaphor. After all, a metaphor should make sense as it is an implied comparison between “two unlike things that actually have something in common.” Right? Okay so we’re comparing two unlike things but still… the “something in common” plays a key part. Agreed?

Sometimes in our zeal to find the perfect metaphor, we over do it a little. Well, that might not be you or I, but I found a list of metaphors from student essays showing us how NOT to write metaphorically.

You may or may not have seen this before. It’s on several sites if you do a Google search.

Maybe I’ve got a strange sense of humour but I found some of these, if not most of them, hilarious. Maybe it was just the mood I was in. Heck, am I kidding? I’d have to be in a pretty crummy mood not to giggle over these.

I can only guess that the authors were trying to be humourous, if not, perhaps they should be banned from writing. I’ll give a few examples let me know.

How Not to write Metaphorically:

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.


It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.


It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

I’ve added the link here if you’re interested in seeing the complete list. There are some pretty funny ones.

If you can come up with any original examples of how NOT to write metaphorically I’d like to see them. I could use a good laugh right about now.

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  1. Loved these, Laura!

    Here’s a particularly good metaphor that I’ve always remembered from Tom Robbins “Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates”:

    “The clouds were lined up like limos at a mobster’s funeral…”

  2. I’d never seen these before, so thanks for sharing. You gave me a laugh today and that’s a very good thing.

  3. Can I use that nose-hair one? LOL.

    • Joylene, what’s with you and these nose hairs..LOL! Do you still have them crossed?

      • Constantly. LOL.

        Hope you’re faring well after the big storms, Laura. I saw pics on the telly and things look bad. Take care and have a marvelous week.

  4. If they were trying to be funny, they were, in a sickening sort of way. Like, like, no, not like that!If they were students, I hope someone encouraged them for trying. Those metaphors were imaginative if not heartwarming.

    • I was in hysterics last night as I read them outloud to my daughter. But I often find things funny when others don’t. Glad you enjoyed them.

  5. Oh, my! Those are pretty wild! Thanks for the giggle. :)

  6. Actually there have been mornings where I feel like one of those might be describing me:
    “It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.”

    Thanks for making me laugh.

  7. I don’t know if any writer should be banned from writing, but maybe certain things should be banned from being written. lol Is that possible?

  8. One of my favorite metaphors is from Douglas Adams: The ship hung in the air the way a brick doesn’t. *laugh*


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