Sport metaphors and why to avoid them

I usually write for an international audience, particularly as I work in technology marketing and we’re mostly targeting niche, global markets. As a result, I’m always conscious of avoiding local colloquialisms or country-specific words, as well as writing clearly for people who don’t have English as their first language.

That’s a huge topic that I’ll come back to on other blog posts, but one easy way to make your writing more readable is to avoid sports metaphors. Really, all of them. You may want to put in something about ‘hitting it out of the park’ or ‘breaking a duck’, but readers with no knowledge of baseball or cricket will struggle to make any sense of this.

There’s a good article, although old, in USA Today which has plenty of examples, and some helpful translations of baseball terms (the page at USA Today is very slow to load for some reason… do bear with it).

But my advice is simple: no sports metaphors, ever.

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