Avoid Clichés

Clichés can make clients see you as a careless and boring writer or a lazy thinker. Here are tips to cut down on clichés and add sparkle to your writing:

Recognize clichés before you use them. If a word sounds overused or trite to you, look for a different one.

Rewrite clichés in new ways. To convey the same meaning found in the simile "as happy as a lark"' without using that worn-out phrase, change it to "as happy as a flea on a Great Dane's back."

Replace one of the words in a commonly-used phrase. One advertiser successfully used the phrase "See No Weevil, Hear no Weevil" in a campaign for pesticides designed to get rid of boll weevils. Readers were compelled to take notice.

Twist a common expression to give it new meaning. Examples: "Into each life some sun must fall," and "He burns the candle at neither end."

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Courtesy of Communication Briefings, a monthly newsletter that now appears to be out of print. Copyright 2006 Communication Briefings.

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