Why not to use clichés?

1. Clichés are used out of weariness, uncertainty, or hesitancy: they are an easy escape for writers.

2. They make writing dull: they never stir the attention of the audience.

3. They force laziness on the part of both writers and readers; they make reading passive and leave the audience with nothing to remember.

4. They lead readers to assume the writer hasn’t worked hard to engage their attention

Two types of clichés:

1. Dead Metaphors
Tight as a drum, sound as a pound, etc.

2. Common Phrases
Deep dark secrets, tried and true, etc.

How to avoid clichés:

1. When a phrase comes to you automatically, or that you can readily identify as a cliché, try to think of other words to express your thoughts.


Instead of saying cool as a cucumber, use a phrase of your own like: cool as Waterville, Maine on a late October day.

Be original and let the reader feel, not yawn.

2. Make sure you clearly understand every expression you use.


Dead as a doornail–what is a doornail, and why is it dead?

Why not use: dead as the frog in the dissecting pan? It is more interesting and much easier for the audience to grasp the image of death.

3. There’s no rule saying that metaphors are necessary. If you are stumped, change the phrase to ordinary language.


Instead of saying: He worked like a horse, why not just say that he worked hard. It conveys the same message, without boring the reader.