Last post we talked about me being the spelling & grammar police, and about how much I dislike overused clichés. There are more of these clichés that I’m not much of a fan of. So why do I hate on them so much?
Mainly, they are not genuine. As I strive to build a business focused on writing, one of the things that I believe makes me unique and valuable is that I am genuine. Of course I like to inject humor whenever possible – I love to laugh and make others laugh. In addition to that, you will rarely find these old, worn-out phrases in what I write. What you are reading right now is the 335th post in this blog, and I have well over 100 other writing samples you can check out if you want. These clichés aren’t very prevalent, because I believe in using authentic language, not some words or phrases some consultant started peddling and got everyone else to use. Let’s look at a few more that really don’t say anything:
“At the end of the day” – It means when everything is taken into consideration (at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens in the school) or something that you say before you give the most important fact of a situation (Of course I’ll listen to what she has to say but at the end of the day, it’s my decision). Like clichés such as “each and every,” this is just too wordy. You can do just as well with a simple adverb like “eventually” or “ultimately.” I wonder if this cliché wasn’t the brainchild of a content writer who was tasked with writing a 1,000-word article, turned in a 995-word article, and his boss read him the riot act and demoted him for turning in incomplete, lazy work. I’ll save this cliché for when it actually applies – at the end of the day, I go to sleep.
“Think outside the box” – Well, if you’re referring to that fabric-covered, 4-wall thingy I used to be held prisoner in for 10 hours a day, great. I’ll step into the aisle and start thinking about stuff. How did my Indians manage to lose so many games to the trash heap that is the Chicago White Sox anyway? Oh, you want business stuff? Fine. Be more specific next time you spew a useless cliché at me. And now that I work from home, I’m not in a box anyway, so how do I think outside something I’m not in? It’s supposed to mean “approaching problems in new, innovative ways; conceptualizing problems differently; and understanding your position in relation to any particular situation in a way you’d never thought of before.” Well, just say that then! “Try to think of something totally new.” That tells me what you want from me, and shows you actually thought about it instead of spouting some consultant gobbledygook.
“It is what it is” – All of us that live in the Carolinas owe the world an apology, because this one is our fault. It was the brainchild of former Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox, who coached our team from 2002-2010. There are no more paranoid human beings in the universe than football head coaches. They all think every team on their schedule has a dedicated spy that follows his every move and word better than God Himself, and everything he says and does will become part of the perfect game plan to beat him next game. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is probably the most famous for this, but Fox is right there with him. Fox started saying “it is what it is” when referring to any Panthers player that was dealing with an injury, not wanting any future opponent to be able to figure out if that player was going to play this week. He eventually used the phrase to answer just about every question under the sun.
There’s a lot more where this came from. If you really want to have fun (or possibly create a need for you to go on blood pressure medication), check out this fantastic list of 50 Overused Business Clichés.
As I mentioned, I strive to avoid these tired, old sayings in my writing. If you need some help getting interesting content on your website or other writing needs, click that handy Contact Us link and let’s see what great things we can do.