Friday, September 26, 2014

Defanging a cliche

From Orin Hargraves' new book, It's Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Clichés, via Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, we see how to clean up common cliches.

These edits dissolve the clichés, eliminate words, and make the writing stronger. Clichés dull our comprehension. First, the brain has to decipher extra words. Second, because it's seen the cliché a thousand times, the brain gets lazy. They turn crisp writing into slop.

Look for these opportunities to de-slop your writing:

very real
absolutely nothing
generally tend
entirely possible
perfectly normal
general consensus
freely admit
distinct advantage
close proximity
abundantly clear
abject failure
in actual fact
the fact of the matter is
know for a fact
know full well
fully intend
a world of difference
a palpable sense
proven track record
in any way, shape, or form
as a general rule of thumb
more often than not

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