• June 2020
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Humor – Too Many Clichés?

(Courtesy: CartoonStock.com)

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Avoid the Use Clichés

So many blog posts and articles have been written about the overuse of clichés and why they should be avoided. Even writing and journalism courses give the same advice – ‘Avoid the use of clichés. They are stale and boring. Writers are supposed to be creative, say what you have to say differently’. Still we see their use everywhere. Their power is such that no matter how hard we try, they seem to creep up through whichever way they can. The reason for this may be that we are so used to hearing them, that they inadvertently enter our writing; or they are used for their brevity and precision – they say so much in so few words. Whatever the reason, the rule remains – avoid the use of clichés when writing, especially in business writing. An executive who uses these terms is not only regarded as a bad leader, but a non-creative force as well. The impression is – if you cannot be creative with words, you cannot be creative in business.

Some of the most common clichés used in business are:

  • at the end of the day
  • win-win situation
  • bottom line
  • thinking outside the box
  • wealth of experience
  • low hanging fruit
  • in a nutshell
  • put all the eggs in one basket
  • giving 100%
  • strike while the iron is hot
  • no brainer
  • turn-key solution
  • beat a dead horse
  • everything from soup to nuts
  • leaps and bounds

The list is endless.

Besides sounding boring, clichés have a disadvantage, too. In today’s world, when business has gone global and letters and e-mails have to be written to foreign countries, there are chances of these terms not being understood.  Unless the person reading the clichés is fluent in English and understands the implied meanings, it is best not to use them. But how can you tell if the person will understand them? You can’t. So, this means – don’t use clichés.

According to a recent research, the most used business cliché is “at the end of the day”. Why do you think this is the most used? Do you think some other term should have topped the list? If so, which one?

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