On Language Patrol: Avoid These Expressions

Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality FeaturesI’ve been keeping track again of stale language I’ve read in newspapers and magazines these past few weeks. Feature writers and columnists shouldn’t resort to using these hackneyed terms and phrases:

1) pork barrel
2) acid test
3) bone of contention
4) go ballistic
5) cash cow
6) forward-thinking
7) melting pot
8) glimmer of hope
9) reinvent the wheel
10) Monday morning quarterbacking
11) dealt a fatal blow
12) reality check
13) above board
14) good to go
15) what goes around, comes around
16) jockeying for position
17) fly in the ointment
18) get your toes wet
19) has a leg up

Oh well, “it is what it is.”

The above expressions don’t create a vivid image for you, and that is what good writing allows the reader to do.

Don’t impose on your readers. Write expressively, so readers will focus on what you are writing about, rather than skim your writing and not appreciate your subject matter.

Cliches do not enlighten nor entertain your readers. When we read a lot of cliches, it’s often unclear what we just read. “Go figure!”

Copyright 2012 by Charlotte Digregorio.

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About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. I recently received an Official Commendation from Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner for my thirty-eight years of accomplishments in the literary arts, and my work to promote and advance the field by educating adults and students alike. I am the author of five non-fiction books: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; and Your Original Personal Ad. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I regularly sign books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores, and do poetry readings at art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. I was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry. I have won forty-seven poetry awards, writing twelve poetic forms. My poetry has been translated into eight languages. I do illustrated solo poetry exhibits 365 days a year in libraries, galleries, corporate buildings, hospitals, convention centers, and other venues. My individual poems have been displayed at supermarkets, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I am self-employed as a public relations/marketing consultant, having served a total of 118 clients in 23 states for the past several decades . In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America, and for two years as its Second Vice President.
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3 Responses to On Language Patrol: Avoid These Expressions

  1. TJ Johnston says:

    It remains to be seen … 🙂

  2. Tzipporah says:

    Like your blog. I will try and be more forward-thinking in the future to avoid these cliches.

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