Common cliches aren’t all created equal

March 9, 2013

Self-appointed members of the Word Police take joy in promoting bans of what they consider the most annoying cliches.

I don’t understand the urge to wipe out use of the offending words, even though I admit some of them are irritating. Most of us have moments when we rely on cliches, so we should remember that before casting stones. Sorry.

I think I read somewhere that the phrase “Live and learn” became popular after the original, less optimistic, “Forget and die” fell out of favor late in the 14th century.

Using cliches is a form of laziness, but some perfectly convey the desired meaning – no explanation necessary. Those are the ones that should be left alone. The cliches below are among the worst in my opinion. I’m committed to never using them.

Some of the most common cliches just don’t ring true. The best example of that is the phrase, “I’d do anything for him (or her).” No you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t hit yourself in the funny bone with a sledgehammer – even if that were physically possible. And you wouldn’t pay $400 for a front-row seat at an AC/DC concert if Boy George was their lead singer.

A couple of Internet sites named “Think outside the box” as one of the most annoying cliches. But for whatever reason, I’m fine with that one. I also don’t have any problem with “There’s no place like home.” It’s not offensive, and everyone fully understands that fuzzy feeling of returning to the casa after a long, tiring trip to the AC/DC concert.

As I mentioned, members of the Word Police are always poised to throw annoying words under the tractor. But as far as I’m concerned at the end of the decade we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the butt.

Just remember, what goes around comes due in 30 days. And it’s not dirigible science.

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