GrammarPhile Blog

Proofreading for Clichés and Content-free Buzzwords (CFBs)

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Jun 16, 2009 4:00:00 PM

As part of our online proofreading services, we proofread tons of documents every day here at ProofreadNOW. We see business documents, legal documents, magazine articles, press releases, annual reports, brochures, and ads. And these are coming from some major thought leaders in the advertising business, on behalf of some giant firms, including Coca-Cola, The Ad Council, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and others. So you know we see stuff that is top-notch.

More and more, our clients are asking us to do more than a spell check or grammar check. They're looking for zing, style, and punch. Does this headline grab us? Does that paragraph keep us glued to the page?

One way we do this is through a cliché alert. We check documents for over-used phrases and buzzwords. Worn-out phrasing, such as "outside the box" and "at the end of the day" are near the top of our list. Words like "user-friendly" and "bottom line" are there too. In fact, we're working on publishing a list of clichés and CFBs that we're planning on publishing at Here's a brief list at the start.

  • stakeholder (seems like everybody's one these days)
  • best in class (sounds like a dog-show winner)
  • think outside the box
  • at the end of the day
  • clearly

What would you add?

Topics: proofread, grammar, spell check, online proofreading

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