Posted by: Jack Henry | January 31, 2023

Editor’s Corner: Clichés and Quiz

Good morning, fellow Jack Henrians!

I’m flying solo these days, so I’m going to borrow some pieces of Richard Lederer’s articles from the San Diego Union Tribune and share them with you. He is the ultimate punster and verbivore, and many of you enjoy his articles. Today is from way back in July 2022, and it’s about clichés. You’ve heard from us editors: Stay away from clichés! But Richard uses a ton of them while advising us not to use them—it’s just the kind of guy he is. For the full article, you can click here.

Here’s a like-ly story: Avoid clichés like the plague (by Richard Lederer)

Do you know someone who drinks like a fish and sweats like a pig? Actually, fish don’t drink very much, although they appear to, and pigs don’t have sweat glands. Nonetheless, we continue to say and write, drinks like a fish and sweats like a pig because they are embedded clichés in our language.

The earliest clichés were printing plates, or stereotypes, made first from wood, then clay, and, finally, cast from metal. The figurative sense of clichés and stereotypes arose later because these plates were often reused and were impervious to change.

One of the ironies of language is that striking figures of speech and vivid comparisons soon become clichés precisely because they initially express an idea so well. These phrases catch on, are picked up by a host of people, and quickly become trite or dead as a doornail (itself a cliché) as their originality and cleverness vanish into thin air (another cliché).

Like is a preposition you can’t refuse in our language. Complete each likely expression, and you’ll be in like Flynn (who was a real 1940s New York politician, not the handsome movie actor Errol Flynn), not out like a light. Answers repose after each cluster of questions.

Solve the first 15 posers with animal kingdom answers. I hope you’ll take to this quiz like a duck to water. [KC – Answers below.]

  1. bleeding like
  2. breed like
  3. clever like
  4. dropping like
  5. eats like
  6. fighting like
  7. He looks awful; he looks like
  8. March comes in like a __________ and goes out like a __________.
  9. A memory like
  10. Rolls of him like
  11. Runs around like
  12. Runs like
  13. Soars like
  14. Watch like
  15. Works like


  1. a stuck pig
  2. bunnies / rabbits
  3. a fox
  4. flies
  5. a bird / horse / pig
  6. cats and dogs
  7. something the cat dragged in
  8. a lion / a lamb
  9. an elephant(‘s)
  10. water off a duck’s back
  11. a chicken with its head cut off
  12. a deer
  13. an eagle
  14. a hawk
  15. a dog

Kara Church | Technical Editor, Advisory | Technical Publications

Pronouns: she/her | Call via Teams |

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