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Today, I am going to tell you about something you should ‘avoid like the plague’ when you’re writing: cliches.
The word “cliche” originates from the French language, and means a once successful creative technique or method (in visual arts, literature, or music) that has been overused to the point when employing it becomes redundant and is seen as a sign of bad taste.
A cliche is a comparison that does not contribute to making a vivid image, or conveying a meaning or impression. Sometimes people use cliches without even noticing it because they feel like adding something to what has already been written. If you like watching TV series, you might be aware of fillers: episodes, where nothing important happens, and which you can’t even remember after you’ve finished watching them. Cliches are the same: simple fillers with no particular value.
Cliches make your writing look amateurish and pretentious; a single sharp comparison or exact metaphor are better than 10 cliches.
Besides, cliches are boring; everyone knows them, so why would you expect to impress your readers with phrases like, “her eyes shone like diamonds,” or “he was strong as a bull,” or “they loved each other to death?”
Removing cliches from your writing can instantly improve its overall quality. And for you to be aware, here is a brief list of popular cliches:
- frightened to death
- like a kid in a candy store
- think outside the box
- raining cats and dogs
- pure as an angel
- in seventh heaven
- what goes around comes around
- ants in his pants
- armed to teeth
- crocodile tears
- a diamond in the rough
- avoid like plague
- to fall on your sword
- sour grapes
- to break the ice
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