I need to say that some problems are appearing on the project, for that I wanted to say bottlenecks are emerging.

Is this term correct? If not, how can I say a similar formal sentence?

  • If I wanted to use the metaphor, I would say "surfacing".
    – Hot Licks
    May 18, 2019 at 12:23

1 Answer 1


Users of metaphor must always beware of mischievous literalists (like me) who see the funny side of what is known as a 'mixed metaphor'. Metaphor, when appropriately used, can make a point more vivid and memorable. Mixed metaphors have the opposite effect.

A combination of two or more incompatible metaphors. [https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/mixed_metaphor]

The business is run by C J, a powerful figure full of impressive-sounding aphorisms that, on analysis, prove meaningless, comprising a heap of mixed metaphors and clichés piled one on top of another.

Your example is not as bad as the example, but it is vulnerable to an unintended amusement. A bottleneck, taken literally, means what it does from the way in which the neck of a bottle slows the flow of a liquid. The French call it a cork (bouchon). You follow this three-dimensional image with the two-dimensional metaphor of a one-dimensional "surface".

However, this has nothing to do with correct or incorrect use. Metaphors can be apt or inept, but not correct or incorrect. They are a matter of style or taste. The term mixed metaphor is a derogatory expression, which applies to bad style. Style is a matter of taste. And, in the words of the Roman poet, Horace, in his poem De Arte Poetica (On the Art of poetry/literature:-

de gustibus non est / disputandum.

One should not argue about taste.

I personally would smile inwardly, but most people would hardly notice if they noticed at all.

  • Thank you for your answer, what do you suggest to use?
    – Alireza
    May 18, 2019 at 8:07
  • 1
    @ALH It is hard to be sure. First, your question would be improved if you gave more information about the nature of the project, and the ‘bottlenecks’. Then you might yourself see a better alternative. It might be something like “As the project develops, bottlenecks are emerging.”. But remember, what I said: even though you yourself picked up on it, relatively few people would notice.
    – Tuffy
    May 18, 2019 at 9:08
  • Project is old and barely handles requests. Our user base is increasing and we are facing with server problems.
    – Alireza
    May 18, 2019 at 9:17
  • @ALH I am guessing your first language is slavic, probably Russian? Your omission of the definite article (the) before the word “project” suggests this. If it is old, whatever it is is not a project: it must be a system, or method or something else. More information about what it is would help.
    – Tuffy
    May 18, 2019 at 11:28

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