The UVic Writer's Guide


All clichˇs were once pithy, clever sayings in which someone encapsulated an idea or feeling. Unfortunately, thousands of other people used and reused those sayings, until they became trite and tiresome. Because they are catchy and concise, clichˇs stick in the brain and immediately occur to the stymied writer. However, using a worn-out phrase is tantamount to admitting that you have not been able to think of anything more interesting to say.

Don't be deceived into thinking that if you put quotation marks around a clichˇ it suddely becomes respectable. On the contrary, you will simply ensure that your reader notices that you ran out of ideas. Some clichˇs to avoid like the plague:

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated September 21, 1995