Below are some stale expressions that I’ve run across in newspapers and magazines, that have no place in writing:
1) better half
2) better late than never
3) chip off the old block
4) easier said than done
5) hard as a rock
6) ignorance is bliss
7) sly as a fox
8) wine, women, and song
9) few and far between
10) clear as a bell
Try to create descriptions that aren’t overworked. Make up your own. One cliche may be effective to kick off your piece, but beyond that, your writing sounds trite and unimaginative. I know that sports writers tend to use a lot of common expressions, but I would avoid them. You don’t want to be known as a writer who has a predictably uninteresting style.
Further, in feature articles, I often run across adjectives that have become too common. Read these offenders below:
In the above examples, just ask yourself how is someone outstanding, beautiful, and dynamic, and be more specific.
Editors see hackneyed language frequently and get tired of it. Without intellectualizing, state something simply, but descriptively. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort. More importantly, you’ll be respected and be assigned more freelance work. Read my book, Beginners’ Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features for more ideas.
Copyright 2012 by Charlotte Digregorio.