To cliché or not to cliché, that is the question...
At some point in time, everyone is guilty of employing clichés to get a point across (cliché #1: at some point in time, cliché #2: get a point across). Frankly, it's hard to avoid the suckers, which have so deeply ingrained themselves in our daily speech. Come on, I dare you (cliche#3: I dare you). Try going for a day or even a week without leaning on your cliché crutch.
LifeHacker.com recently highlighted a study by Oxford University that compiled the top 10 most irritating phrases, including; "At the end of the day," "24/7," "With all due respect" and the always popular "It's not rocket science." We asked TKA agents which phrases are akin to hearing nails on a chalkboard (cliché #4: well, you can guess this one), and received the following responses:
1. Deidre Knight: "Six in one hand, half dozen in the other" or "Out of the box" -- If you were in an actual box, you've got serious problems.
3. Lucienne Diver: "Fictional novel." -- Same as saying novel novel. Or maybe fictional fiction?
4. Melissa Jeglinski: "Through a series of events..." -- So, it's tough to write the perfect query letter - that's true. But take it from us, this stale standby is best left on the cutting room floor.
5. Elaine Spencer: "Coming of age novel" -- If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this, well I'd be guilty of another cliché and building my dream house in South Beach.
Actually, at the end of the day, I don't think it matters what you say, it's how you say it (cliché# I give up). Someone reassuringly repeating a familiar phrase can bring levity to a situation, hope to a good friend or encourage camaraderie among co-workers. Like, “It will all work out” or “When one door closes, another opens.” But admittedly, they don't all do that. I don't know anyone who’s been reassured by "we're not trying to reinvent the wheel" - my least favorite phrase. So what's your poison? What phrase is so completely nonsensical, it sets your teeth on edge? Or what phrase are you guilty of using on a regular basis?
Personally (cliché #1,098,877), I don’t think any of us will ever free ourselves completely from utilizing these handy platitudes – but perhaps, like salt, we should learn to use them sparingly.