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Thread: Cliches

  1. #1
    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Default Cliches

    Why do we have cliches? Is it that an idiom or a proverbial expression being overused a cliche?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Cliches

    We have them because people use phrases too much and they can lose their meaning or effect.

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    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Cliches

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    We have them because people use phrases too much and they can lose their meaning or effect.
    So, shall we avoid them in writing, such as "rains cats and dogs", "there is a will there is a way", "every cloud has a silver lining", etc.?

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    Default Re: Cliches

    If you want to use them, first know what they mean, then explain how you are using them. Alain de Bot ton, How Proust Can Change Your Ljfe explains:

    The problem with cliches is not that they contain false ideas, but rather that they are superficial articulations of very good ones. The sun is often on fire at sunset and the moon discreet, but if we keep saying this every time we encounter a sun or a moon, we will end up believing that this is the last rather than the first word to be said on the subject. Cliches are detrimental insofar as ... read more here

  5. #5
    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Cliches

    What an inspiring illustration! My long-standing ambiguity in the avoidance of cliches has been cleared. Thanks a lot.

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    Default Re: Cliches

    You're most welcome.

  7. #7
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    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Cliches

    My two cents

    Yes, avoid cliches--but not in everyday speech and writing. That would be too much trouble. However, in creative writing the whole point is to be original. Avoid cliches if you are trying to create literature.

    ~R

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    albertino is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Cliches

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    My two cents

    Yes, avoid cliches--but not in everyday speech and writing. That would be too much trouble. However, in creative writing the whole point is to be original. Avoid cliches if you are trying to create literature.

    ~R
    Oh yeah. That is the point troubling me for ages. Thanks, RonBee.
    Last edited by albertino; 27-Jun-2007 at 04:02.

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