The cliché killer

To paraphrase a great line from Yes Minister, we can talk in clichés until the cows come home. Cliches are useful in everyday communication precisely because people know what they mean, but they don’t make for great writing. As lexicographer Orin Hargraves writes in It’s Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Cliches, clichés are

frequent, often used without regard to their appropriateness, and they may give a general or inaccurate impression of an idea that could often benefit by being stated more succinctly, clearly, or specifically—or in some cases, by not being stated at all.

Click here to read Joseph Epstein’s thought-provoking and amusing review (Sound Familiar? A report from the battlefield in the war on clichés, The Weekly Standard, 21st Jan 2015).

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