It’s the carrot at the end of the tunnel

Two guys were told that part of their pay would be made when their work was successfully delivered.  They were told to consider it “the carrot at the end of the tunnel”.  This is a nice mash up of “light at the end of the tunnel” (the end of a difficult period or job) and “carrot on a stick” (reward that is promised as an incentive to complete a task).   This malaphor is probably caused by carrots and sticks having similar shapes.  And maybe Bugs Bunny sitting in a tunnel pulling carrots underground?  A big thanks to Bob Newstadt for hearing this one and passing it on.  An additional shout out to his quick-witted friend Nax Paul Mendler for responding to the speaker with, “don’t you mean the light at the end of the stick?”

If you enjoyed this mixed idiom, you will love my book “He Smokes Like a Fish and other Malaphors”, now available on Amazon at



3 Comments on “It’s the carrot at the end of the tunnel”

  1. Beatrice Zablocki says:

    Sorry. Carrot ON a stick? How would u do that? I’ve heard of carrot OR a stick & carrot & a stick, but not carrot ON a stick.

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Phil Coxon says:

    Was this article written by a toddler?

    1. The phrase “They can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel” was uttered by Stuart Pearce, an English football manager about his team after a win.

    2. The carrot or stick analogy is to do with donkeys. You can encourage them to move by dangling a carrot in front of them, or beat them with a stick.

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