One of my favorite classroom examples in my editing class at Loyola University Maryland was this gem, published in Newsday:
The old expression, it’s like trying to turn around the Queen Mary, no longer holds. While it’s 100 feet longer than the original ship, this one turns on a dime, thanks to three thrusters. In no time flat the ship turned 90 degrees, going from a horizontal position between two piers into a vertical one ready to head into the berth, with the ease of a kid twirling a toy boat in a bathtub.
My students would look blank, perhaps stunned by the allusion that no one recognized, the strained wordiness, and the inane metaphor.
By way of a hint, I would say, “I believe that RMS Titanic once performed the same maneuver.”
And if the penny did not drop then, I would draw on the blackboard two side-by-side piers and a ship in relation to them, and finally someone would realize that the words the writer had been groping for were perpendicular and parallel.
And after that, the meta lesson: that something can be made correct and still be dreadful.