The 10 Most Common ChatGPT Metaphors

A really effective way to increase reader engagement is to help the reader conjure up vivid mental images. ChatGPT is well aware of this, but there’s a slight issue with how this chatbot chooses its metaphors.

For some unknown reason, ChatGPT returns to the same set of metaphors repeatedly.

All that processing power could be better spent on inventing new expressions to delight its users with, which in turn would make its writing more diverse and organic!

Maybe that’s part of the next phase in ChatGPT’s evolution, or maybe not. As for right now, let’s reveal the chatbot’s most commonly used metaphors.

1. Navigation

When conveying the idea of overcoming obstacles, it doesn’t take long for ChatGPT to talk about navigation. For example, if you ask for help with dealing with office politics, the chatbot will promise to help you “navigate the intricacies of office politics”. This partly explains why ‘navigate’ is also a common ChatGPT verb.

2. Dancing

This one is particularly frustrating because it’s often used in inappropriate contexts. ChatGPT likes to refer to two or more elements working together as engaging in some kind of ‘dance’, which threatens to reduce the seriousness of a serious matter e.g. “The two companies engaged in a delicate dance of negotiation”.

3. Harnessing

This is probably an overused ChatGPT metaphor for the simple reason that it’s overused in the real world as well, especially in the realm of business—remember, the chatbot is trained on what us humans write, say, etc., and that’s why ChatGPT always insists upon “harnessing the power” of something deemed to be valuable.

4. Keys

Once ChatGPT identifies a thing or action that plays an integral role in achieving a specific aim, it will declare it has found “the key”. The chatbot usually saves this metaphor for its concluding statements, so you only really encounter it in structured texts such as articles and guides and so forth.

5. Tapestries

If you could eradicate one metaphor from ChatGPT’s knowledge base, it would have to be this one, on the basis that it has a disease-like presence in generative AI texts. Whatever the context and whatever the writing tone, the chatbot never fails to find a way to mention how X is “a tapestry of” Y and Z.

6. Headaches

When describing a situation that causes annoyance, ChatGPT tends to reach for the word ‘headache’ as in “Managing conflicting opinions can become a headache”. I don’t mind this one too much. It gives ChatGPT a more conversational tone of voice, which is refreshing given that this tool leans towards a formal writing style.

7. Unlocking

ChatGPT loves shining a light on topics which are mystical or highly complex. And to its credit, the chatbot is very good at helping users gain a deeper understanding of a challenging topic. It’s just a shame that it minimizes its own intelligence by repeatedly talking about “unlocking the hidden secrets” or something along those lines.

8. Journeys

Reinforcing the theory that ChatGPT places a lot of emphasis on reader engagement when constructing its responses, it’s obsessed with taking users “on a journey”. After all, journeys are quite exciting, right? It’s undoubtedly a great noun to use to give the user a sense of progression from A to B.

9. Landscapes

Even buzzwords from the world of politics has helped shape this large language model’s favorite expressions. No matter what prompts you employ, you can expect ChatGPT to shoehorn in the word ‘landscape’ for metaphorical effect e.g. “The cultural landscape of the city reflects its rich history and diversity”.

10. Vehicles

The final common ChatGPT metaphor is yet another result of business jargon, and used to represent the means by which something is achieved. Art is a ‘vehicle’ for expressing emotion, innovation is a vehicle for societal advancement, language is a vehicle for communication, and on and on it goes…