January 1, 2007
This Gawker post on blog cliches hits very close to home. It's an "annotated list of words, phrases, and terms that have long overstayed their welcome in the media-blogosphere." I'd have to agree. I'm guilty of a few of these, too.
- Best. [ultimate thing or experience.] Ever/Evar.
- [undesirable counter-example], not so much.
- FTW, O RLY, lol, FTL, OMG, FWIW, btw, PWND, ROTFL, etc.
- [negative experience, situation, or description]; I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.
- [purposefully non-ghetto statement], yo.
- [undesirable conclusion]. Oy.
- [amazed paraphrase of opposing position]. Seriously? Seriously?
- What's next? [outlandish scenario]?
- I'm looking at you, [example of complaint].
- Um, [condescension]?
- [Argument], wait for it, [rhetorical flourish].
- [Undesirable experience] made my [sensory organ] bleed.
- [adjective]-y goodness
- [any word]-gasm
- [x] is the new [y].
There are a bunch of good suggestions in the comments as well:
- Let me see if I have this straight. [outlandish scenario].
- No, really.
- I heart [object, person, place, or thing].
- [statement]. Meh.
- Mr. [Blank]y Mc[Blank]erson
- I want those (x) [minutes, hours, days] of my life back.
Some of these catchphrases are fun – in moderation. But you have to be aware that you're using a common catchphrase, and you should use it selectively and judiciously. Most people don't realize how often they're using a catchphrase, which is why they become overused and cliche in the first place. Using a catchphrase is like ending a sentence with an exclamation point: rarely necessary, but when it is, time it for maximum impact.
If you're worried you might be inadvertently relying on cliches in your writing, try cutting and pasting some of your prose into the online clich finder. It's based on the Associated Press Guide to News Writing.
I try to avoid cliches in my speaking and writing by intentionally mixing things up. I refrain from using the same words, the same phrases, the same stuff too often. There are a million ways to communicate any idea. Why limit yourself to narrow, predefined patterns of thinking, writing, and speaking? Stretch a little. Explain it a different way this time. Rephrase. Restate. Riff on the topic.
Using cliches is fine; just be sure you aren't using them as a substitute for real communication.
Posted by Jeff Atwood
90% of these seem to come straight from Jon Stewart/the Daily Show. Or maybe it's the other way 'round.
I usually use those terms to mock others...
FWIW: Best. Blog. EVAR!!!(eleventy-twelveteen)
The key is to think outside the box.
One of my old managers used to say this to me. I told him to get a bigger box.
cliches rock! You've got to ask your self if you are thinking outsde the box on this, I mean are ya punk? I mean there are two kinds of people; those who can think out loud on this one, and those that can't surf with the paradigm shift. Can you handle the truth? Cliches are da bomb girlfriend fa shizzle. I mean I am all over that like my other car is some mean overclocked tricked out core competencies. Can I get a whoop whoop? But if there's one thing I gots ta say is that these bad boys are low hanging fruit.
You don't want to jump the shark on this one. But, IMHO, if you can't bring your self to drink the koo aid, It's all good. To tell the truth, it is what it is. But if you run the numbers on this you'll be in the home stretch before you start. Peace out.
Oh yeah, FIRST!
I am in ur [place], [verb]in ur [object].
Can I get a whoop whoop?
This one made me laugh. I need more writing with this phrase.
The one that patriotism = "whatever comes out of the mouth of politicians", and also the one where you are un-patriotic if you side with the Constitution and not the "elected" officials are cliches I don't much care for...
/[action] is a classic one
Also, my vote for most overused cliche phrase:
"At the end of the day, [conclusion]"
It's so painful. And so horribly abused and overused in every form of media. It is possible to summarize something WITHOUT saying this. Just tell me your conclusion without the little unnecessary verbal flourish in front of it, OK?
Here's a few I can't stand
(*) Like I wrote before/the other day/last time, ....
(trying to show how smart you were to write about something previously)
(*) signing off each post with a "Take Care" or "Till Next Time" :rolleyes:
There's nothing I hate more than "Um, [condescension]?" Grr, it burns me up.
Could we kill off "second of all" while we're at it? "First of all" has a long and respectable history, and then some wag came up with "second of all," which was cute - maybe - the first time.
Jeff's great blog clich is the bolding of one or two lines per post, which may or may not be the most important. :p
Might update the condescension one to:
~Sigh~ Everytime I read a post like this, a little part of me dies inside. Nevertheless, I need to throw a shout out to Jeff for bringing attention to this matter FWIW. Holla Holla!
I'm sure we can all agree that I never use cliches in my own writing. I keep it realz and write from the heart. But I digress...
Jeff, you are a madman.
Arrgh! Those are all my favorite cliches! Cliches don't become cliches until people point out that they're cliches! Why couldn't you have just left well enough alone?
I guess I'll just have to go back to my perennial fallback: long unbroken streams of incredibly foul profanity.
Always great to have the language police on the job! Thanks for manning the barricades, Jeff! Starting tomorrow, I'm sure everyone's blogs will be much improved.
Also, my vote for most overused cliche phrase:
"At the end of the day, [conclusion]"
I blame Les Miserables.
These dont bother me as much as media cliches do. For example, the word "blogosphere", to me, is an overused media pseudo catchphrase.
Liked this post. My thoughts are that people in general (myself included) don't have a great array of vocabulary and can find themselves using the same phrases/cliches in descriptions. In face2face communication it can be extremely easy to resort to cliches and they are the best friend of someone who is slightly awkward or is a bit uneasy. On a positive front I would say there is something very satisfying about using a cliche (especially when stonded), setting off on a journey of cliche origin findings and then discovering it!
So with this blog on a blog on cliches, when does it officially become a cliche in itself? How many will blog and point here (or gawker) and whats the number of uses that defines a cliche?
My vote is on any of the "Moving Forward" type of comment. God those just make me want to puke.
"Don't fall into the same rut as everyone else." - Nay, fall into your own rut. At least it will be yours.
(I find this to be a struggle as well.)
Best. Post. Ever.
(sorry. about. that.)
The "online cliche finder" is great.
I have seen some blogs that have a spell-checker built into the 'comment' software. I wonder if it would be possible to also build in a 'cliche-checker' that would flag in red any cliches before one hits the post/submit button? It would at least elevate the language somewhat.
I'm just saying we should be aware of what we're writing and speaking. Is that a bad thing?
I found the use of the cliche "[your|my] work here is done" in the original blog ironic (my name links to a supporting Google search).
NO! Those clichs are mine! They are my little children that have spread out and been fruitful! Don't stop using them! Don't hurt my poor little children!
ooh ooh ooh, I've got one.
"a - conclusion one, 2 - conclusion two"
Most of these expressions aren't unique to the blogosphere and have been around many years. The blogosphere merely happens to be most of its denizens' first exposure to informal persuasive writing.
More coding, less horror, please.
I, for one, welcome our [trend or outlandish characteristic] overlords.
Exactly the same amount of coding and horror, please.
Anything involving an actual owl named ORLY is fine with me.
The Language Log blog has a longer analysis of the "X Y overlords" snowclone at http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000403.html, KR. I suspect that knowing more won't reduce your ire, but it's interesting to see the permutations analyzed.
"lickable" and "delicious X-y goodness" are two more that are especially prevalent in the OS X world.
"The last but not the least"
Not only it is a clich when written, people love to drop it in conferences like to pretend to be a good orator.
Someone mentioned "moving forward", at my previous office I heard a whole lot of the "going forward" variant. It eventually turned into a joke, where the engineers would use it to mock management. Oh well. :-)
My maxim: avoid clichs like the plague.
"Don't fall into the same rut as everyone else."
A recursive cliche!
Reminds me of an article I read on writing better English. One bullet point was "avoid cliches like the plague."
Maybe this isn't a clich, but a little phrase that always seems to show up in emails and blogs is "suppose to". It makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth. By the way, has anyone here read "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves" by Lynn Truss? Definitely the funniest book I've read in a long time.
"fall into the same rut" -- 192 matches on Google
"at the end of the day" -- 2,380,000 matches on Google
Just to be clear, I am not advocating removing all cliches and catchphrases. I am advocating using them judiciously.
This made me laugh, from the book "Eats, Shoots Leaves" referenced by Dave Markle
A self-professed "stickler," Truss recommends that anyone putting an apostrophe in a possessive "its"-as in "the dog chewed it's bone"-should be struck by lightning and chopped to bits.
Different kind of problem, but funny nonetheless.
There are a million ways to communicate
how about exaggeration and hyperbole? any cliche in that?
you know i poke fun due to blog envy.
Some of these are just filler - "At the End of the Day" can be replaced with "Ultimately". "At this point in time" (often heard in speeches) really means "now". "First of all" means "firstly", etc.
Just thought of another one. It seems that every dimestore Dijkstra on the web has written at least one article entitled: "[XXXX] Considered Harmful". Ugh. Hate that one.
Once something becomes cliche is when it's fun. I'd never use any of this in serious writing, but for some reason a few friends of mine and I get quite a kick inserting things like "QQ more" and "el oh el" into bored IM conversations at the office.
I've told myself a million times to stop exaggerating. And every time I do, a little part of me dies inside.*
* this one's for you, Phil Haaaaaaaaaaaack.
"lets face it" and "you have to admit" are just ways to put the listener/ reader on the defensive as if they are not facing or admitting to something the other person has.
Best. post Evar. No, really. To tell you the truth, reading this made my eyes bleed. So you don't like the cliche-y goodness? Um, whatever dude! If you don't like them, then don't go on teh internets, yo! What's next? Perhaps you are going to tell us not to use acronyms like LOL or O RLY anymore? OMG! WTF! I just threw up a little bit in my mouth. I want those 2 minutes I of my life back! I'm looking at you, Mr. Cliche Opposing Mc Cliche Opposer person! For one, I heart cliches! Chiches FTW!
And... Um... IM IN UR BLOGZ POSTIN COMENTZ!
I have a friend who uses "at the end of the day", "clearly" and "it's not a train smash".
As you might expect we regularly hear ".... Clearly, at the end of the day it's not a train smash".
At the end of the day... it gets dark!
Good job I don't blog any more. Reading through that list I started thinking 'Heh, some of these are pretty cool'.
(prologue: why is the word orange always used?)
What's the difference between a staple and a clich?
Since when are chat shortcuts clich?
1. [x] 2. [y] 3. [z] 4, ? 5. Profit!
Google ...[joke about it being beta]
I know someone who, when speaking, face to face, rarely gets through five sentences without throwing a cliche in there somewhere.
I've often commented on it, too, 'cause a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Yeah, he uses them in places they don't belong.
As for net cliches, I think the newer shorthand terms that people are making up all the time are quite obnoxious. O RLY and such were funny for maybe a single hundred-page thread about O RLY, but nowhere else.
That I threw up a little bit in my mouth thing? Expect someone to say one day, [Negative experience]; IJTUALBIMM. Nobody likes to use proper english, or spelling, or grammar anymore.
Oh, and net-iquette is a net term I don't like. Stop gluing words together, people. I've even used that one, too. So easy to use, it becomes obnoxious.
My top 4:
"confused restatement of your argument]. Huh?"
This makes me want to kill. Check and make sure you're not the stupid one before you act like the other guy is stupid.
"Wiki[anything]." Ex. "Wikitastic!"
The irritatingly hip word contraction "blog", has anyone mentioned that one yet?
Finally, in the English language at-large: "Literally [something figurative.]" STOP IT.
Talking completely in text-speak. "OMG (insert name here), tht HAWT BOI WAS LIKE THTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BUT DIS B-ATCH LIK TRTM".
Huh? I say that too often. That and "whatsit". Oh well. There's another one. I guess everything's a cliche now. What this world coming to?
we all guilty one way or the other.of all responces and comments l read in this blog failed to get one without a cliche.it does not kill so why not just continue w wat we have started
How about PpL wHo TyPe LyKe TiS...
Enough to drive me up a wall.
I'm guilty of overusing emoticons such as these, though ^.^
Don't forget great ones like QQ, and imho.
What can I say about Jeff's blog...
It is what it is.
If I had a nickle for every time I heard that phrase, I would have 1256.25 by now.
Manager: This software is a piece of crap.
Developer: It is what it is.
Developer: This software is a piece of crap.
Manager: It is what it is.
CEO: This project is over budget and over time
CEO Lackey: It is what it is.
Mickey = genius!
I'm going to throw that one out every chance I get. But I'll refuse to explain it. You've just unleashed pandora's box....reap the whirlwind.