Yesterday I talked about metaphors that literally referred to themselves. Alas, in the spirit of humor, I cheated a bit. Most of my examples were truly autophorical, but one was faking it.

Or as Sally might put it, it’s only autophorical if X=“X”.

For example, the following was legit:

β€œI went out on a limb to rescue your cat from that tree.”

because the speaker really did go out on a limb, both literally and metaphorically.

In fact, my first five examples were all properly autophorical. But the last one wasn’t really kosher:

β€œThe editor cut my novel to five pages, to make a long story short.”

The problem here is that the speaker is not using the idiom “to make a long story short”, to talk about the meaning of the sentence (what the editor did), but rather to reference his/her own statement.

In fact this last example is kind of a cousin to Tom Swifties, which depend on a more traditional idea of punning:

“I have a skin infection,” Tom said rashly.

2 thoughts on “Pseudoautophorical”

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