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View Full Version : Cliches [Guardian Article]



gothicangel
06-30-2011, 03:50 PM
Poets give their most hated modern cliches:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/30/wordsandlanguage

Anyone want to add?

[How long before someone says 'sparkly vampires? :tongue]

Alpha Echo
06-30-2011, 04:03 PM
Some of these don't make sense to me. "Britain is leading the world." I don't think I've ever heard anyone say those words...maybe, maybe in the political forums, but not seriously.

"Awesome" and "Literally"...yeah, I use both those a lot. Not in writing but in life. Guess I need to broaden my horizens.

And there's one - "Broaden my horizens"

Or "Spread my wings"

Oooh, how about "I need to find myself." My husband HATES that phrase. He doesn't understand it at all. He swears as long as you know where you are, you have yourself found. LOL.

aruna
06-30-2011, 05:15 PM
"awesome" and "devastated" -- overused and over the top; I never use them except to describe something truly awe-inspiring or devastating.

I've never heard anyone use "tectonic plates" in poetry or fiction so I don't get it being a cliche.

"Feisty" to describe some woman with a hot temper.

To bite off more than you can chew -- hate it.

And lots, lots more.

Lisa von Lempke
06-30-2011, 06:55 PM
I was amused at seeing "Tectonic plates" as a hated cliché, in that article. I suppose that would more logically fall under "cliché subjects", where, for instance, the Titanic also belongs.

"I am a very spiritual person", also from the article, would fall under the, for me, most fascinating category: that of cliché ideas - people think they are saying something new or something that, at the very least, isn't said thousands of times every day. The number of people who not only are or believe they are spiritual, but present this as something of a novelty, something you don't hear very often, is astoundingly high. Similarly, it still happens regularly that someone, usually on a bench in the park, turns his face to me and says earnestly: "You know, sometimes I think I like animals better than people." (Often followed by the explanation: animals are more loyal, love you for who you are, etc.) The idea itself is not unsympathetic to me, btw - I certainly prefer my dog over many people. But after having heard these words hundreds of times, every time with the head turned to me, and the earnest look, my brain gives out.

"The sky is the limit" is such a cliché that it has now become a Supercliché; when someone says it, it is automatically assumed to bring its own quote marks. By me, that is. I can't imagine anyone uses it in seriousness, anymore.

I rather admire movies that are entirely made up of clichés. Of course many are at the 80 nor 90% mark, but it's a rare gem that goes all the way to 100. There was once such a movie - to my eternal regret, I don't remember its name. Every word the characters said was a laughable cliché. The highlight was when the Female Protagonist, during a first dinner with the Male Protagonist, said to him: "Do you always get what you want?"

JimmyB27
06-30-2011, 07:20 PM
Oooh, how about "I need to find myself." My husband HATES that phrase. He doesn't understand it at all. He swears as long as you know where you are, you have yourself found. LOL.
Totally with your husband on that one. And the thing I find is that the people who say it don't seem to know what they mean either. Try asking next time you hear it. ;)

"I am a very spiritual person", also from the article, would fall under the, for me, most fascinating category: that of cliché ideas - people think they are saying something new or something that, at the very least, isn't said thousands of times every day. The number of people who not only are or believe they are spiritual, but present this as something of a novelty, something you don't hear very often, is astoundingly high.
I usually encounter this one in the same way as described in the article; that condescending, 'I'm much better/more moral than you because I believe in imaginary things' kind of way.

JimmyB27
06-30-2011, 07:21 PM
I rather admire movies that are entirely made up of clichés. Of course many are at the 80 nor 90% mark, but it's a rare gem that goes all the way to 100. There was once such a movie - to my eternal regret, I don't remember its name. Every word the characters said was a laughable cliché. The highlight was when the Female Protagonist, during a first dinner with the Male Protagonist, said to him: "Do you always get what you want?"
I like it when they do this knowingly. Like 'Last Action Hero', or 'True Lies'.

Jamesaritchie
06-30-2011, 08:50 PM
Most of these aren't cliches in any sense of the world. Overused, or incorrectly used, words, maybe, but that's not the same thing as a cliche.

AinSoph
06-30-2011, 09:21 PM
Many seem to relate to themes rather than words, but all the same, it's helpful - I am going through my ms right now searching for anything remotely cliched. I don't use a lot of cliche in everyday language but I was surprised at how many I've found! Insidious, they are, slipping in when your back is turned.

Toothpaste
06-30-2011, 09:34 PM
Most of these aren't cliches in any sense of the world. Overused, or incorrectly used, words, maybe, but that's not the same thing as a cliche.

The actual title of the Guardian article is "Worn Out Words", so the paper was never claiming they were cliches in the first place.

gothicangel
06-30-2011, 09:50 PM
The actual title of the Guardian article is "Worn Out Words", so the paper was never claiming they were cliches in the first place.

They used the term cliche on the homepage, and I just copied that. ;)

Lisa von Lempke
06-30-2011, 10:21 PM
I like it when they do this knowingly. Like 'Last Action Hero', or 'True Lies'.

Yes - you'd think it only happens in that way, now. But it doesn't! There are apparently still writers who put that down as an entirely serious line of dialogue.

That's a beautiful thought, actually...