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The French gave us the word. We English speakers use clichés like rubber-stamps. Too much of it of course, disturbs the prose and is never recommended for good writing. Embellishing them here and there while speaking or writing is almost a natural habit for most of us. By its very definition, clichés should be avoided like the plague. Oh there! I just used it in a sentence.
Clichés are overused expressions in our language. Clichés start life as a novel expression but soon lose that appeal because of overuse. By then most clichés seed themselves into the English language.
As an English language learner or even as a writer who thinks he knows it all, referencing clichés is good exercise (just so you can eliminate them!). They say there’s a cliché born every minute. These four websites on clichés’ could help you locate (and eliminate) some of them.
Cliché Finder is a simple site with a large text box. Enter your text and it tries to highlight the clichés you have used in red. Too many and you could do a rethink on your writing and remove some of them. It is not perfect by any means because it references a list of common clichés; if yours isn’t in them, then the app throws an error.
I wish I could call this a fun site, but if you enjoy sports in any form, you get bombarded with clichés by commentators and journalists. Sports journalism (and perhaps political reporting) is the place where clichés have a free run. Check out this site and are sure to exclaim – I have heard these all before. Take the 20-question challenge in the end and see if you have the stock to make it as a sports reporter. There’s a little section on political clichés too tucked away within the site.
This site gives you more clichés than you can shake a stick at. It is well organized into categories that collate general, money, food & drink, and animal clichés. You can also search by the first letter. It is also one of the oldest cliché websites on the web and has been kept updated, so you can expect to find a strong collection.
If clichés are a part of the English language, can they be kept apart from the world of marketing? This website was a campaign against the rash of hackneyed words and phrases in trade magazines, PowerPoint presentations, and hundreds of websites. The battle seems to have been lost, but the site is littered with ‘101 dead bodies’ of clichés which came in sight of the crosshairs. The 101 clichés listed here make for a nice reading thanks to the nice layout of the site.
These websites could prove to be useful for your writing. It’s a good advice that says avoid clichés but favor idioms. There’s a nice article archived at BBC that published the results of an online survey looking into some of the most irritating clichés of our times. Check it out and also let us know the ones that drive you up the wall.