The phrase:

this new journey that builds on our foundation of relentless innovation and entrepreneurial spirit

is understandable and sounds good, but I am wondering what a more literal rewording would be.

The "new journey" refers to a new organization of commercial operations. The expressions "relentless innovation and entrepreneurial spirit" are straightforward enough for me.

Although metaphors are to some extent unavoidable in abstract language, I feel there should be a more literal rephrasing of "that builds on our foundation of", away from the construction semantic field and more tightly related to the facts it refers to.

My thoughts are:

  • both "builds on" and "foundations" refer to the same idea: that certain basic processes underpin or support others, so maybe a more literal rewording would reduce the number of words required to say the same.
  • 1
    It's barely metaphorical. Merriam-Webster gives one meaning of foundation as "a basis (such as a tenet, principle, or axiom) upon which something stands or is supported", and likewise build "to develop according to a systematic plan, by a definite process, or on a particular base" as in "build a legal case".
    – Stuart F
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 11:30
  • @Stuart True. And yet those are not the first meanings of those words, so it might be conceived as a lexicalised metaphor. In any case both words together do create some construction-related imagery.
    – Eklektikos
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 12:25

2 Answers 2


IMO it does not sound good, but is intended to sound important; "relentless innovation" isn't "foundation" to me, but suggests shifting sand. I would prefer tradition to 'foundation'.

This new journey is in keeping with our tradition of relentless innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Thank you. I like it! "Tradition" conveys an habitude or consistent way of doing things quite in line with the idea the phrase intends to express and I'd say it is more meaningful and specific than the original. I will give myself more time to think about it but I will probably mark it as an accepted answer. I would upvote it if I could.
    – Eklektikos
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 8:57

There's a classic mixed metaphor: [a new journey] [building on a foundation]. Separately, each metaphor works very well, but they clash when placed together.

But I'm not sure that rendering one literally is the best way to go.

I'd suggest

  • this new journey fuelled by our relentless innovation and entrepreneurial spirit
  • Well spotted. And your suggestion rightly addresses the mixed metaphor problem but it seems to convey a slightly different meaning.
    – Eklektikos
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 12:22
  • But the innovation, at least, is relentless, so didn't cease at the launching pad. Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 17:00

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