GrammarPhile Blog

Eliminating Cliches: Say Hello to Original (Part 2)

Posted by Terri Porter   Jan 15, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Our last post talked about how to identify the clichés in your writing and why you want to get rid of them. This post tells you how to do that.

The first step to eliminating clichés is understanding what they mean. Given that we use clichés because they’re seemingly widely understood, discerning their meaning should be relatively easy, right? Well, yes … if you understand the meaning. That’s not difficult with some of the examples given in the previous post (e.g., few and far between, think outside the box, path of least resistance). But with idioms that have become clichés, it can be more daunting.

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Topics: business writing, idioms, cliches

Identifying Clichés: Bid Adieu to the Tried and True (Part 1)

Posted by Terri Porter   Jan 13, 2015 7:00:00 AM


Out with the old, in with the new. Familiar? Yes. Inspiring? Not so much.

That’s how it is with clichés — we love them and use them because they’re easy to remember, don’t require much effort or creativity, and are a widely understood shorthand that captures the essence of a person, situation, event, etc. But they also make for writing that feels tired and unoriginal. And if familiarity breeds contempt, it’s easy to see why editors attack such hackneyed expressions with the fury of a woman scorned.

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Topics: business writing, idioms, cliches

Prepositional Idioms and Why They're Important

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Nov 1, 2011 5:30:00 AM

Idiom is language peculiar to a people or to a district, community, or class. It's also an expression in the usage of a language that is peculiar to itself either grammatically (as no, it wasn't me) or in having a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements (as Monday week for "the Monday a week after next Monday").

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Topics: preposition, prepositions, idioms


Posted by Julie DeSilva   Oct 11, 2011 5:30:00 AM

An idiom is an expression, common to a particular language, that often differs from the literal meaning of its parts taken as a whole. "A manifestation of the peculiar" is the closest possible translation of the Greek word.

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Topics: idioms

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