Matthew R. Perry

Can You Avoid These Cliches?

In For Preachers/Pastors on January 1, 2007 at 10:54 pm

In a recent issue of the Business Common Sense newsletter, Deny Hatch writes: To celebrate its 25th anniversary, the Plain English Campaign surveyed 5,000 supporters in 70 countries. They voted on the most irritating phrase in the language. The results:

* 1. At the end of the day
* 2. At this moment in time
* 3. The constant use of like as if it were a form of punctuation
* 4. With all due respect

From the Plain English press release: Spokesman John Lister said over-used phrases were a barrier to communication. “When readers or listeners come across these tired expressions, they start tuning out and completely miss the message — assuming there is one! Using these terms in daily business is about as professional as wearing a novelty tie or having a wacky ring tone on your phone.

“George Orwell’s advice from 1946 is still worth following: ‘Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.'”

Other over-used phrase nominations from the Plain English survey:

* 24/7
* absolutely
* address the issue
* around (in place of “about”)
* awesome
* ballpark figure
* basically
* basis (“on a weekly basis” in place of “weekly” and so on)
* bear with me
* between a rock and a hard place
* blue sky (thinking)
* boggles the mind
* bottom line
* crack troops
* glass half full (or half empty)
* going forward
* I hear what you’re saying . . .
* in terms of . . .
* it’s not rocket science
* literally
* move the goal-posts
* ongoing
* prioritize
* pushing the envelope
* singing from the same hymn sheet
* the fact of the matter is
* thinking outside the box
* to be honest/to be honest with you/to be perfectly honest
* touch base
* up to (in place of “about”)
* value-added (in general use)

(Business Common Sense, 12/14/06)

(HT: Preaching Now, Vol. 1, no. 6)


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