- Clichés are overused and unoriginal phrases and sayings.
- An example of a cliché is: all the glitters is not gold.
Clichés are all around us. You might have heard them in everyday conversation, as the theme of movies, or as the subject of popular songs. Today, we’ll dive into what clichés are and why you should avoid including them in your writing.
What Are “Clichés”?
Clichés are unoriginal phrases or sayings that no longer have the impact they once had. For example, and they lived happily ever after was frequently used in fairy tales or love stories. At one point, that line might have had an alluring effect on readers. But nowadays, it might invite nothing more than an eye roll.
Why Should You Avoid Clichés While Writing?
Clichés can have the opposite effect than what a writer is intending. Let’s say you’re writing a motivational book. If you use an overused quote like “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” you might do nothing more than motivate the reader to close the book.
This is because clichés can portray the writer as unoriginal and lazy. Audiences are looking for new and imaginative ways to read what’s already been said. Trying to avoid a cliché is the perfect opportunity to flex your writing muscles.
However, there are rare occasions when using a cliché might be helpful. For example, it might help you connect with your audience. Let's say you're writing for millennials, then you might want to say a phrase they're familiar with, like say less or the struggle is real.
What Are Some Examples of Clichés?
Sometimes clichés are said so often, they become ingrained in our heads without us realizing it. Below you’ll find a few clichés you should familiarize yourself with so that they don’t accidentally sneak into your writing.
All is fair in love and war
Big fish in a small pond
Brave as a lion
Do or die
Dressed to the nines
Free as a bird
In the nick of time
Laughter is the best medicine
The calm before the storm
Glimmer of hope
Good as new
Ignorance is bliss
Is it “Cliche” or “Cliché”?
Cliché is a French loan word. Because of that, you’ll notice that this word is usually written with a diacritic, even though those aren’t typically found in English words. If your text includes the word cliché, make sure to add the diacritic on top of the “e.”
It’s not always easy adding signs or symbols that aren’t typical in the English language. LanguageTool—a multilingual writing assistant—will remind you to add them and give you the option to do so just by accepting the suggestion. Additionally, this intelligent text editor will also check for spelling and grammar mistakes and provide stylistic improvements.
We can understand why someone would be compelled to include a cliché in their writing. They’ve stood the test of time, haven’t they? But because they’ve been around so long, they’ve lost the effect they once had. If you find yourself using a cliché, stop and ask yourself, “How else can I better explain myself?” Your readers will appreciate that you’re thinking outside the box.