Avoiding Cliches

Clichés.  They’re a dime a dozen, and we’re all sick of them.

Clichés may be part of our everyday speech, but they’ll weaken your writing if you use them in formal settings.  Why?  Overused clichés tend to annoy people, and they create an impression of laziness and lack of careful thought.  We’ve heard them so many times before that readers tend to just tune them out, weakening the power of your writing and lessening your impact.

Some of the most commonly used clichés to avoid include:

  • At the end of the day
  • Back on track
  • The fact of the matter
  • Few and far between
  • A level playing field
  • In this day and age
  • To all intents and purposes
  • When all’s said and done
  • In the final analysis
  • Come full circle
  • Par for the course
  • Think outside the box
  • Avoid like the plague
  • In the current climate
  • Mass exodus
  • At this moment in time
  • The path of least resistance
  • A baptism of fire
  • In any way, shape or form
  • Fit for purpose

So, what to do if you find a cliché in your own writing?  Take a look at your cliché, and try to think about what it actually means.  Sometimes, you can replace the entire cliché with a single word—“at this moment in time” can usually be reduced to “now”, and “par for the course” simply means “normal”.  That can allow you to replace the cliché entirely and cut down on excessive wordiness at the same time.

Some clichés are just filler, and can be omitted entirely.   Phrases like “to all intents and purposes” are generally unnecessary, and just pad your word count.  While it can feel tough sometimes to meet a difficult word requirement, simply padding it like that will rarely slip past most graders.

Since clichés are a barrier to communication, strike them out!  When you’re proofreading, cut them and replace them with simpler words rather than just set phrases.  If you’re still not sure how to go about it, stop by our order page today, and our team of international editors will help you get the most out of your writing.

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