Posted by: episystechpubs | June 23, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Clichés

One of the projects I’m currently working on revolves around an editing tool that will help us provide cleaner, more consistent documentation across the company. As I come across different rules that this magic software uses while reviewing documents, I plan on sharing those rules with all of you, since they apply to good business writing in general. Today’s topic is avoiding clichés. First, what is a cliché?

According to our friends at Merriam-Webster, a cliché is:

1: a phrase or expression that has been used so often that it is no longer original or interesting

2: something that is so commonly used in books, stories, etc., that it is no longer effective

3: a trite phrase or expression; also, the idea expressed by it

Wikipedia provides this information:

The word cliché is drawn from the French language. In printing, a cliché was a printing plate cast from movable type. This is also called a stereotype. When letters were set one at a time, it made sense to cast a phrase used repeatedly, as a single slug of metal. Cliché came to mean such a ready-made phrase.

Examples of clichés from Your Dictionary:

  • Time will tell
  • As old as the hills
  • Fit as a fiddle
  • A diamond in the rough
  • All is fair in love and war
  • Every cloud has a silver lining
  • Time heals all wounds
  • What goes around comes around
  • Read between the lines
  • Laughter is the best medicine
  • We’re not laughing at you were laughing with you

Okay! Now that you know what to look for, my advice is to remove clichés from your emails, documentation, and other writing. Well done.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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