Cliches -- (why) are they bad? - Page 6


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Thread: Cliches -- (why) are they bad?

  1. #51
    VonBradstein, I mean more to bitch about than contemporary upper classes. Anyway, I concede that not all fads come from the ghetto. They come from many places - TV, movies, politics, music etc... I do appreciate your erudite comments. Thanks

  2. #52
    Thanks for clarifying.

  3. #53
    Because each person has his/her unique way of perceiving the world and to use cliche is to deny oneself one's individuality.

  4. #54

    Not bad

    I tend to think that cliches (sorry, I don't know how to add the accent) are fine in casual speech, like in dialogue. When it comes to other writing however, there is almost always something more descriptive that can be used. So it's not necessarily that cliches are bad, but that there's usually a better, more original, more descriptive, and more thought-provoking way to say it.

  5. #55
    I'd like to add my views on clichés. (Note: So far I've read about a third of the posts in this thread.)

    First, to answer AnnabelLee, you have to go into the Character Map accessory program (if you are in Windows) to find special characters. If this forum software were better written, it would have an option for inserting special characters right in it.

    I like to compare language to food. A cliché is a taste you have gotten tired of. But just as people won't all get tired of the same foods, what qualifies as a cliché may change from person to person. When I was young, I had a friend who got tired of mayonnaise. Well, forty years later, I still love the stuff.

    To me, a cliché is always a phrase, and one which has been used by many people and has a generally accepted shorthand meaning. If you compare language to science, a word would be an element, whereas a phrase would be a compound. No one ever gets tired of words by themselves because they are the most fundamental building block of language (not counting letters); but if a clichéd phrase is used over and over, it will no longer be recognized as beautiful or cogent because you've become used to it (or tired of it).

    The irony here is that some clichés become so ingrained in the language that they seem to achieve the status of a word. Usually that's because there is no other way to express what is being said by the phrase. (Unfortunately, I can't think of one of those clichés right now -- if I think of one, I'll post it.)

    It may be possible to use a cliché in a poem if it is suited in every way to the poem. "In a nutshell" was mentioned before in this thread. To use that cliché would be inappropriate in any poem that wasn't about nuts, but it might be usable in a poem that IS about nuts (but probably only if it is used in such a way that it draws attention to itself).

    I think that sometimes redundancies are identified as clichés. In a fairly recent poem, I wrote "a successful life, denied to all but a lucky few". I was advised to drop "lucky" because, if only a "few" achieve a successful life, then of course they are "lucky".

    "Lucky" is instructive in another way too. Some words are more "low brow" than other words, and those words may be identified as clichéd. "Lucky" is what you are when you win money at the track, whereas "fortunate" is what you are when you were reared by loving parents.

    Unfortunately, that horrible, judgemental word "lazy" has raised its ugly head in this thread. No one is "lazy" for using a cliché. Writers use clichés only because they don't know any better (for whatever reason).
    Last edited by Caleb Murdock; May 22nd, 2018 at 08:40 AM.

  6. #56
    I believe there can be a place and a purpose for everything, but they should be used carefully and sparingly.

  7. #57
    (sorry, I don't know how to add the accent)
    If you have spell check switched on it underlines it in red and offers the accented version when you click on it, or self corrects sometimes, don't ask me why it varies


    I bought a dictionary of clichés once in a second hand shop, I tend to collect reference books. On getting home I looked through it and realised I knew them all. Doh. Might be handy for writing pop songs. Re-phrasing clichés can be a good exercise, like in the simile thread 'Piling up like laundry'.
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

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