When someone says or writes a sentence or phrase that you’re very familiar with because you’ve heard or read it for so many times that you could complete it for the speaker or writer, you’re hearing or reading a cliché.
Clichés are expressions, sayings, phrases, similes, metaphors, that have been commonized due to repeated use in everyday writings or speech. Because clichés make writings and speeches boring, a good speaker and writer try as much as possible to avoid them.
How to Identify a Cliché
Once an expression sounds too familiar to you, automatically it is regarded as a cliché. But, what about those people who are not familiar or, acquainted with the same expressions as you? – take the little kids and the unlearned as an example, the same expression may not be a clitché.
It means that what sounds like a cliché to you may not sound like a cliché to someone else. So, it depends on the person reading or listening. In any case, it’s wise to avoid it.
Examples of cliched sayings and expressions
All fingers are not equal.
Time heals all wounds.
Head over heels in love.
I Love you more than I love my mum😳
Love you more than life itself.
Don’t cry over spilt milk.
As ugly as sin
As busy as a bee
As tired as a dog
It rains cats and dogs
- Make a mountain out of a molehill
After rain comes sunshine
- Rome was not made in a day
There are also quotations that are so exhausted by overuse – you know those quotes and once you hear or read them, boredom gets you.
How can you avoid clichés
There is only one way…
Being a creative writer means you don’t use too familiar expressions in your writing except if your target is to bore the hell out of your readers.
If being original sounds hard to you, then, make the cliché to look or sound original.
How to modify a cliché to get an original less common result.
🔹Pick the cliché you want to modify for your own use
🔹Find out what the clichéd expression is trying to say
🔹Think of a new and original way to define what the cliché is trying to say
🔹Using a no-clichéd description, try to drive at what the clichéd phrase or expression is trying to say.
– Let me pick a saying like “All fingers are not equal”
– this cliche is trying to say that all people are not the same.
– The cliché can define in the following original way; there are differences in social status, opportunities, wealth, capabilities, between people or groups.
– Now I will find a way to modify it to make it sound original. For example;
- All people are distinctly dissimilar
- Everyone has this thing about not being equal to another person.
- There is always variation in individual capabilities.
The above-modified cliché is done in my own way. You may decide to do something more original than mine. Try it.
Clichés or cliches can bore your readers and need to be avoided when possible by making sure that your expressions, phrases, sayings are not overused ones.
I'm a food scientist who has chosen the path of creative writing- the one thing which comes to me naturally.
Back in 2013, my love for teaching young learners propelled me into picking teaching as a career. I taught English, Maths and Science in the United Arab Emirates where I lived for ten years. Right now, I live in Coal City, a beautiful hilly area of my country Nigeria.
My website Fiez-writer is a product of my extreme desire to share my writing with the world. Here, I share fiction, poems, thoughts and writing tips.
A huge part of my life is spent with my lovely family and I'm a proud mother to three brilliant kids.