Archive for April 8th, 2010

Avoid Using Clichés: Tip #8

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

A cliché is defined as an expression that has been used too liberally over time, and has lost its effectiveness. Ironically, the reason it has been used so frequently is that it does its job so expeditiously. Your goal as a writer with a keen imagination is to come up with a substitute for each of those worn-out expressions that manages to say the same thing, but in a fresh manner.

Some common expressions that you likely use without realizing they are clichés are: “Money can’t buy happiness,” “Love makes the world go round,” “It’s raining cats and dogs,” “Wishing doesn’t make it so,” “Time waits for no man,” “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” “Good as it gets,” “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” “Time will tell,” and “All’s fair in love and war,” “Love conquers all,” “Tall, dark, and handsome,” and “Every cloud has a silver lining” “As luck would have it,” and “Out of sight, out of mind.” And the list goes on into the thousands. A good rule of thumb when using one of these expressions is that if it sounds too familiar to make your point, avoid it like the plague. Oops. Did you notice that cliché I slipped in there? I do hope you caught it. While it is difficult to avoid their usage 100% of the time, it is possible and desirable to keep clichés to a minimum.