Posted by: Jack Henry | April 25, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Avoid Clichés

You might think that clichés don’t come up much in professional writing, but they do. The editors don’t see them often in our electronic or release documentation, but we see them regularly in other kinds of documents intended for clients.

When you’re thinking of what to write, a cliché might be the first thing that comes to your mind, but you should almost always resist the urge to use it. Why? Because clichés are tired expressions that people have read hundreds or thousands of times. They make your writing dull, and they annoy your readers.

According to Ken O’Quinn author of the website, Writing with Clarity:

“Rather than say a program came to a screeching halt, just say it ended abruptly. Instead of going back to the drawing board, make it, We need to start over. If you feel the urge to say it was a win-win, say both sides win, or both of us will benefit.

He provides this short list of clichés to avoid:

· ballpark estimate

· ramp up

· light at the end of the tunnel

· emotional roller coaster

· a deep dive

· step up to the plate

· an uphill battle

· pick up steam

· didn’t pan out

· worst nightmare

· team effort

· back on track

· take it to the next level

· heading into the home stretch

· sharp as a tack

And when I say it’s a short list, I mean it! This list is a drop in the bucket (gotcha!). There are more clichés out there than you can shake a stick at (somebody stop me!).

If you feel so inclined, send me the clichés you hate most (but make sure they’re work-appropriate). Send them by the end of the day on Thursday 4/28/16, and I’ll share them on Friday.

Oh, this ought to be fun!

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Technical Publications Writing and Editing Requests

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