A cliche is an expression that has been overused in speech and writing. They go so far back in time, that they have lost their original meaning, yet still have a grain of truth to them. We’ve all heard them and use them in our everyday speech, but I’ve read that it is not a good idea to use them in our writing. The phrases are thought to be stale, unoriginal, trite, and commonplace.
There are hundreds of thes cliches, and being from Texas, I hear and use them all the time. I don’t know if other regions use them as much, or if they have certain ones that are used more frequently. I think they are funny, and of course recognize them when I hear them or see them written.
I don’t quite understand why they are such a bad thing to use in writing, in moderation, of course. If your character is speaking to someone, they more than likely will use a cliche at some point in the conversation…that is if you want them to sound authentic. People’s conversations are not formal and stilted.
I know, I can hear you say they’ve been over-done, used too much, they are boring, come up with something more original. Well, lots of words have been used over and over. What about hello, good-bye, I love you, how are you, good night, and many more. Are you going to stop using them, just because you’ve heard them a lot…probably not.
Is it because cliches are a bit funny? I think they are, and love to hear them, and recognize when someone is saying them or writing them. It’s a sort of touchstone to be in sync with the speaker or writer…you both understand the meaning behind the phrase.
Just for fun, I’ve listed a few, and some thoughts about them. First of all, why do so many refer to fruits, vegetables, and animals?
1. we ‘veg’ out in front of the tv, 2. she is ‘nutty as a fruitcake’, 3. he’s ‘nuts’, 4. that’s ‘no beans’, 5. that’s ‘cool beans’, 6. ‘she eats like a bird’, 7. ‘he eats like a horse’, 8. ‘they multiply like rabbits’, 9. ‘bless your pea-pickin’ heart’, 10. let’s ‘talk turkey’, 11. we ‘soar like a eagle’, 12. ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’.
What if you substituted another word in the saying? People would look at you strange if you were to say, ‘we soar like a buzzard’, or ‘they multiply like mathematitions’
What are your thoughts on using cliches? As for me, I’m not going overuse them in writing, but speaking is ‘a whole ‘nother ballgame’, and I won’t ‘avoid them like the plague’.