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Are There No New Phrases Under the Sun?

One of the best pieces of advice on writing I’ve seen – and don’t always follow – is the demand author Martin Amis would make of his close friend, the late journalist Christopher Hitchens: Purge all clichés.

Not only, I’ve found, does this eliminate worn phrases from your prose. It also makes you think of something original, and helps your writing sparkle.

Nowhere perhaps is the resort to cliches more prolific than in political dialogue and, I’m sorry to say, in journalism. Once a phrase takes hold in the discourse, every lazy mind in Washington uses it repeatedly and well past its expiration date.

I thought you might enjoy this cliché compilation from Politico. As you can see, the proof is in the pudding.

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22 Responses to Are There No New Phrases Under the Sun?

  1. After reading The Daily Caller’s exposé on Media Matters, I wouldn’t be surprised if a good many overused clichés are courtesy of the Obama team talking points.

    • File that with “nattering nabobs of negativism and an “effete corps of impudent snobs.”

      Gee…I sure do miss the old days when you could pistol whip the press with panache.

  2. Politics is bad. Sports is worse. A teacher friend of mine and I used to regularly watch football w/ the sound off and the rule was to ONLY speak in cliches. “you can throw out the record book when these two teams get together”. It’s remarkably easy and all too revealing. But “at the end of the day”, I’ve got a lot of time invested in it.