Clichés. You’ve heard them before: “The grass is always greener on the other side,” “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” or even “A cliché is a cliché for a reason!” Clichés are a normal part of life, and sometimes we don’t even realize when we are using them! Here at North, we understand the importance of avoiding using clichés in our posts, and we’ve put some tips together to help you avoid them as well!
Identify Clichéd phrases
The tricky thing about clichés is that sometimes we don’t even know we are using them. They can be so ingrained in our everyday speech and writing, we can’t pick them out, but others might be able to. Here are some examples of common clichés to identify and begin to avoid:
– In this day and age.
– At the end of the day.
– In any way, shape, or form.
– For all intents and purposes.
– Ignorance is bliss.
– You can’t please everyone.
– In today’s society.
– All walks of life.
– Never a dull moment.
What makes some of these clichés tricky is that they don’t necessarily seem like clichés, but learning to identify them is the first step in avoiding them in your writing.
Break down the phrase.
The reason clichés are so well known and used is that they do a good job of describing things that large groups of people can identify with. Saying something happened in “the nick of time” is easy to do, and most people will understand what you mean. The best way to avoid using a cliché is by breaking down what the cliché means. In the case of the example above, “in the nick of time,” what is being communicated is that something happened at a critical moment, or right when it needed to happen. By knowing what it is you are trying to communicate with a cliché, you can more effectively avoid using one.
Use your own words.
Once you know what it is you are trying to communicate with a cliché, you can start to use your own words instead. As tempting as it may be, when you’re tasked with describing something, try and be original instead of relying on overused and tired phrasing. Saying that “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” when describing a difficult time or issue isn’t nearly as effective as you may think, and isn’t to impact your readers in the way you hoped.
Try using strong descriptive words instead of clichéd phrases. Often clichés are flowery ways of saying something simple. Instead of saying “In this day and age,” use the words “today” or “now.” They may not seem as pretty or descriptive, but using straightforward phrasing gets your point across more effectively.
Now that you have some tips you can begin to rid your writing of clichés and use your own words to more effectively get your point across.
Do you have any tips on how to avoid using clichés in your writing? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us at @NorthPRFL!
And that’s the straight up from North!