See what we did in the title? It’s no secret that bad writing is everywhere: in advertisements, blogs, books, and television. And few things pop up on a reader’s “I hate this” radar more often than reading content that is full of bad clichés. Not only are clichés a lazy way out of creating compelling content, but they can also bore and even annoy your reader. Do you know where a bored and annoyed reader goes? To the next blog, the one you didn’t write, the one that probably looks sterling in comparison. So even if it’s a cliché that you feel emotionally attached to, one that you’ve harbored a deep, possibly stormy relationship with throughout your writing career, the time has come. You two need to break up and never, ever, ever get back together.
That being said, we’ve compiled a list of clichés that are so bad, so barf-worthy, that we recommend you remove them from your writing arsenal today
1. “In the Mix”
It’s time to find a more interesting way to say “X is included in this scenario.” You aren’t spicing up your writing; you’re making your reader reach for their barf bag, or worse, reach for their mouse so they can scroll away from your content.
2 . “Low-Hanging Fruit”
This cliché is meant to describe something that can be acquired with little to no effort; clichés in writing are, in fact, low-hanging fruit. Because clichés do so well at fluffing up your content, you can avoid the perilous sea of writing anything legitimately compelling. As my co-worker Richard pointed out yesterday, it is equally annoying in marketing campaigns. So please, raise awareness about the abuse of this cliché; you can begin by removing it from your vocabulary.
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3. “Thrown Under the Bus”
This cliché has been gaining popularity in the last few years, likely because of its overuse on competitive reality television shows: There’s always one house member who “threw” another house member “under the bus” in the scripted and melodramatic worlds of Big Brother or MTV’s The Real World. So be above reality television, and commit to not using this cliché.
4. “At the End of the Day”
At the end of the day, your readers made it through your content’s first paragraph only before they stopped reading. Apparently, the lack of effort in your writing made them physically ill.
5. “Bang for Your Buck”
Am I the only person in the world who associates this phrase with smarmy, used-car salesmen and guys selling knockoff watches out of their trench coats?
6. “It All Comes Out in the Wash”
This is supposed to be a witty way to say it will all be alright in the end, which is another token over-generalization brought to your content. It’s worth being deemed barf-worthy cliché No. 7. The only thing that will coming out in this wash is your reader’s interest in your blog content.
7. “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining”
This cliché is working a double shift as both barf-worthy and blatantly untrue. The laziness of employing this phrase to describe an unabashedly positive attitude is only trumped by the fact that every cloud does not, in fact, actually have a silver lining. So stop lying to your readers, and write better content while you’re at it.
8. “Plenty of Fish in the Sea”
Yes, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but there are also plenty of writers who don’t use bad clichés to describe the endless opportunities in the world; If you use this phrase a lot, it’s likely that your reader would rather be reading one of those writers.
9. “Tip of the Iceberg”
Like the icebergs that are melting due to global warming, your reader’s interest in your blog content will likely melt right away when you employ this cliché in your writing. Just don’t use it.
This cliché is both overused and overly dramatic. If you’re writing something that should appeal to the emotions, it’s best to employ sentiment, rather than sentimentality, to establish that emotional appeal. No reader wants to be spoon-fed sadness or tragedy through melodramatic, cliché phrases such as this one.
11. “The Calm Before the Storm”
You want to get into some seriously hokey poetic imagery? See Exhibit A, “the calm before the storm,” the one cliché that can both annoy your reader and make yourself sound like an angst-ridden high school sophomore writing a “feelings” poem for English class.
We hope that we’ve been able to “shed some light” on a few truly awful clichés that can ruin an otherwise good piece of blog content. Put in the effort to write crisper, more original words, and your viewership and reputation as a writer are likely to increase simultaneously.