Clearing Out Clichés

A cliché is an overused metaphor such as:

  • dead as a doornail
  • cat got your tongue
  • barking up the wrong tree
  • out of the frying pan and into the fire
  • it’s not rocket science
  • at the end of the day
  • on the same page
  • needless to say (But yet, you’re still going to say it, aren’t you?)

The problem with clichés is they are easily recognizable and can creep into your writing like weedy vines—and  instead of adding to the writing it weakens it.

The best solution is to go over what you have written and take the out. Clichés are neither cute nor clever. It’s best to come up with an original comparison.

How can you do this?

Try writing the old, worn-out phrase on a separate piece of paper such as: smooth as a baby’s bottom, and below it, write alternative endings to smooth as:

smooth as silk (still cliché)

smooth as Formica (OK, but not pleasing to the senses)

smooth as a minted nickle (better, smooth and shiny)

smooth as a rose’s petals (ah, even better, and it has the romantic element.)
Have fun with it the free association. You’re more likely to come up with something original.