Dr. Kristi Siegel
Mount Mary College
Fidelis Hall 223
(414) 258-4810, ext. 461
Eliminating Cliches
Cliches are overused, trite expressions. Cliches are a form of Engfish because they do not communicate.Traditionally, cliches were comparisons such as "good as gold" "; "big as a house"; "red as a beet"; and so forth". However, ordinary expressions and/or ideas become cliches when they are overused. Comments like "Hot enough for you?"; or, "Have a nice day" barely register because we've heard  these remarks so often.
t is easy to identify classic cliches like "as slippery as an eel," "rich as sin," or--and here's an old one--"as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs." However, the everyday variety of cliches may be harder to notice; these are the expressions they we use so unconsciously that they become invisible (and deaden our writing).

cliche may also refer to an idea. Some examples of cliched ideas or images include grandfathers/mothers with twinkling eyes, "fluffy" kittens or bunnies, pounding hearts, sweaty palms, and stomachs with butterflies.

list of some overused expressions (there are many more) is provided below:
Some examples of cliches ...
in the nick of time
couldn't catch my breath
for the life of me
without moving a muscle
without a doubt
to tell the truth
couldn't keep my eyes open
at the drop of a hat
cut to the chase
did not have a pleasant bone in his/her
but to no avail
it was bad enough
like the pot calling the kettle black
got the best of me
put two and two together
to this day
bubble was burst
knows full well
honesty is the best policy
times heals all wounds
next thing I knew
dumb as a rock
bored out of my mind
quiet as a mouse
stopped in my tracks
before I knew it
without a doubt
in a jiffy
without a hitch
stopped in my tracks
little did I know
goose bumps all over
the time of my life
needless to say
well worth the wait
even to this day
frightened to death
scared out of my wits
waste of time
rushed for time
with only seconds to spare
without a care in the world
it couldn't happen to a nicer _____
a matter of time
lost track of time
seemed to take forever
lasted an eternity
like greased lightning
thought to myself
made a big impression on
thought he/she was hot stuff
Back to Class Schedule (Information Central)