150 clichés and ‘verbal crutches’ to avoid

Washington Post staffers list stock phrases and misused expressions to avoid, causing writers and communicators everywhere to cringe. Are the editors right?

The Washington Post published a game-changer last week. Donning the mantle of a grammar maven, it weighed in on the hot-button issue of clichés.

In a piece titled “150 journalism clichés—and counting,” the paper promised this was “not your father’s list of journalism clichés.”

Time will tell if the list has any effect in communications. But there’s much for organizational writers to chew over, whether they’re in public relations, internal comms, or marketing.

Outlook Editor Carlos Lozada writes that in recent years, he and some Post colleagues “have played our own parlor game, assembling a list of verbal crutches, stock phrases, filler words, clichés and perpetually misused expressions that we should avoid in The Post’s Sunday Outlook section—or at least think hard about before using.”

The list doubles the number of offenders listed on a previous version, he says. Among the Post’s phrases to avoid are:

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