Avoid clichés like the plague

Setting aside the jokey one above, it is nonetheless wise for writers to avoid clichés as much as possible.  Most editors and many reviewers are allergic to them; the reaction is to look more carefully at the writing and perhaps to be less forgiving. Some clichés are more offensive than others, so we are told by the results of a survey by the Plain English Campaign in the U.K. The most irritating is ‘at the end of the day’ followed closely by ‘at this point in time’. (The latter is not only a bad cliche but uses more words than is needed; often ‘now’ will do. My own favourite (in the sense that I dislike it the most)  is ‘vast majority’. [I should note, however, that when I pointed this out in a previous blog, asking facetiously if there were any majorities that were not vast, several wrote back to inform me that, yes, there were some such as ‘slim’. Yes, I knew that. ]And this one did not even make the list! Among the other terms that were included by the 5000 supporters of the Plain English Campaign were: “24/7, absolutely, address this issue, awesome, basically, and prioritize.” There are many more. So just to be sure we are singing from the same hymn sheet, I want you to literally think out of the box and push the envelope so that we can persuade fellow authors that it’s not rocket science to learn to write good. For more edification and amusement visit: www.plainenglish.co.uk.

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