Stamp out clichés: Tossing out my two cents

Professional communicators should avoid them like the plague, but when push comes to shove, sometimes you just have to hold your nose and take the plunge.

When you say “we need to think outside the box,” you’re using a cliché which…well…is actually inside the box.

According to, a cliché is a trite, stereotyped expression; a sentence or phrase, usually expressing a popular or common thought or idea, that has lost originality, ingenuity, and impact by long overuse.”

Clichés, sadly, are everywhere, but they’re especially rampant in the business world. Are you guilty of using any of the following?

Even worse: clichés that bear no universal definition.

For example, have you ever heard synergy, paradigm shift or core competency, and had no idea what the person was talking about?

Or you thought you knew what they meant, but your understandings differed completely?

As a writer, it is my job to avoid using clichés. Of course, if a client is a strong proponent of such sayings, I will argue only so much.

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