Writing Style – let’s get rid of clichés

A cliché is a phrase or expression that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or purpose. The word originates from the era of block printing, when lazy printers would cut out frequently-used pieces of type, store them in a drawer, and bring them out again when the phrase reappeared.Initially refreshing, these phrases are now considered by many readers to lack creativity, innovation or sincerity. For example, think about the phrase “If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.” How often have you seen or written this?

When you read it are you impressed with the writer’s manners? Or do you pretty much ignore the thought? When you write it, do you really believe the reader would be afraid to call you unless told otherwise? Do you think that readers today would hesitate to call or e-mail you if they were confused or wanted to complain?

I believe many writers still use clichés because they are lazy and writing in a robotic mode. If you want to look like an energetic professional, write in a warm, friendly fashion using words you would use in a face-to-face conversation.

Take a look at the following phrases. If you can immediately supply the next word, you know the phrase is overworked.

It has come to my ___________.

Please find __________.

________your request,

If you have any questions, please feel ____________________.

 

  • Krish

    Hello Jane,

    Thanks for all the great articles you’ve on your website. I have been reading them for a while now, and it has greatly benefited me in improving my grammar. After reading this article, I kind of laughed out loud because I often use and see these clichés in literally every email. Frankly, I have often questioned myself about this practice but continued to use assuming it is a courteous gesture. While this article confirms that use of clichés is meaningless and unnecessary, I thought it would be great if you could also point out some alternatives to spark our creativities.

    Best,
    KK