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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 ____________________.

 

Grammar Tip – Me, Myself, or I

One of the most common grammar errors you see and hear today is the me, myself and I problem. If you know the correct way of using these words, it is irritating to find them used incorrectly. One of my workshop participants said that the misuse is like having someone scrape their fingernails on a blackboard.

At my local gym, one of the managers – a well-groomed young man – often says “Come see myself.” His verbal image does not support his outward appearance. However, bad grammar is like having bad breath. Many notice and are bothered, but few will point it out.

The concept is quite simple. is always the subject of the sentence. Example: I finished the project.

Me is always used as the object. (The object always follows a verb or a preposition, e.g., in, on, of, by, into, between, with or by.) Example: Please contact me. (The object follows a verb.) Example: The report was written by me. (The object follows a preposition.)

Myself is a reflexive pronoun. It can only be used after a subject or object pronoun. Example: I taught myself how to use the program.

Here’s a quick way to determine the correct pronoun when you have more than one subject or object.

Example: Paul Becevello, Greg Firth and ___________ presented the proposal that was prepared by Tim Paul, Linda Mackay and ___________.

1. Mentally delete the first part of the subject and object.?___________ presented the proposal that was prepared by ___________.

2. Enter the correct pronouns.?I presented the proposal that was prepared by me.

3. Replace the deleted material.?Paul Becevello, Greg Firth and I presented the proposal that was prepared by Tim Paul, Linda Mackay and me.

4. You could also insert the reflexive pronoun for emphasis. It would be redundant, but it would be grammatically correct.?Paul Becevello, Greg Firth and I myself presented the proposal that was prepared by Tim Paul, Linda Mackay and me myself.

One of the most common grammar errors you see and hear today is the me, myselfand I problem. If you know the correct way of using these words, it is irritating to find them used incorrectly. One of my workshop participants said that the misuse is like having someone scrape their fingernails on a blackboard.At my local gym, one of the managers – a well-groomed young man – often says “Come see myself.” His verbal image does not support his outward appearance. However, bad grammar is like having bad breath. Many notice and are bothered, but few will point it out.The concept is quite simple. is always the subject of the sentence. Example: I finished the project.Me is always used as the object. (The object always follows a verb or a preposition, e.g., in, on, of, by, into, between, with or by.) Example: Please contact me. (The object follows a verb.) Example: The report was written by me. (The object follows a preposition.)

Myself is a reflexive pronoun. It can only be used after a subject or object pronoun. Example: I taught myself how to use the program.

Here’s a quick way to determine the correct pronoun when you have more than one subject or object.

Example: Paul Becevello, Greg Firth and ___________ presented the proposal that was prepared by Tim Paul, Linda Mackay and ___________.

1. Mentally delete the first part of the subject and object.
___________ presented the proposal that was prepared by ___________.

2. Enter the correct pronouns.
I presented the proposal that was prepared by me.

3. Replace the deleted material.
Paul Becevello, Greg Firth and I presented the proposal that was prepared by Tim Paul, Linda Mackay and me.

4. You could also insert the reflexive pronoun for emphasis. It would be redundant, but it would be grammatically correct.
Paul Becevello, Greg Firth and I myself presented the proposal that was prepared by Tim Paul, Linda Mackay and me myself.