Lamp as Inanimate Object and Other Really Bad Analogies

by Jamison Koehler on February 27, 2013

The Washington Post held a contest a couple of years ago in which it asked school teachers to send in examples of the worst analogies they had ever encountered in grading student papers.  Below, with thanks to Ruth Hamburger, are some of my favorites.  You can find the full list here.

  1. He was as tall as a 6’3” tree.
  2. John and Mary had never met.  They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
  3. The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  4. He was as lame as a duck.  Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame.  Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
  5. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  6. The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object.
  7. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
  8. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
  9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
  10. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  11. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
  12. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  13. The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon.
  14. He was as bad as one of the Three Stooges, either Curly or Larry, you know, the one who goes woo woo woo.
  15. I felt a nameless dread.  Well, there probably is a German name for it, like Geschpooklichkeit or something, but I don’t speak German.  Anyway, it’s a dread that nobody knows the name for, like those little square plastic gizmos that close your bread bags.  I don’t know the names for those either.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria March 13, 2013 at 5:22 am

Ha! Of all the students represented on the list, I *really* want to meet the one who wrote #15. Best one, IMO!

(Hi Jamie!).

Jamison Koehler March 13, 2013 at 6:46 am

In your opinion? What do you know?

(Hello Flanhead!)

My father’s all-time favorite from something he once came across in a student paper: “Because of their sandy bottoms, tourists come from all over to swim in the lakes and ponds of New England.”

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