Beyond The Clichés

Wikipedia defines a cliché as “an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect, especially when at some earlier time it was considered meaningful or novel.” To some degree, we are all probably guilty of using clichés and overusing certain phrases or expressions. You can probably think of your verbal pet peeves, I certainly can. Author Jeremy Butterfield, in his book Damp Squid: The English Language Laid Bare identifies some of the most irritating phrases commonly found in magazines, books, papers, journals, broadcast media and other sources.

The top ten list includes:

  1. At the end of the day
  2. Fairly unique
  3. I personally
  4. At this moment in time
  5. With all due respect
  6. Absolutely
  7. It’s a nightmare
  8. Shouldn’t of
  9. 24/7
  10. It’s not rocket science

In addition to these expressions, business phrases like “synergy” and “think-tank” and the words “literally” and “ironically” are identified as being used incorrectly, or out of context most frequently.

Perhaps this list made you chuckle, or groan, because of what you often hear when listening to others. I encourage you to become more aware of your own language and the various clichés and expressions that comprise the way you communicate. Your communication says a lot about you and impacts your personal brand and reputation.

“Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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