Sadly many great phrases such as mother of all

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modifiers such as "bright and early" then you have a good eye for worn-out language. Sadly, many great phrases, such as "mother of all battles," are coined but quickly become overused. How many times did you get sick of hearing people say "Not!" a decade ago? How do you identify and avoid cliches? When writing, question any comparison or image you are about to use. Cliches often sneak in the barn door (that's a cliche, by the way) when we try to be descriptive. Is the phrase you're about to use one that you've heard frequently in casual conversation, newscasts, and advertising? If so, it is probably a cliche or on its way there. Instead of using stock phrases and images, be creative--but beware! Using the thesaurus has many dangers, such as misusing an synonym that doesn't quite fit the meaning you want. Also, inventing your own colorful descriptions can lead you as far astray as any worn-out phrase. Finally, avoid "padding" your work with cliches. This is an effective way to increase the length of a paper, but not to increase your grades. Most professors know cliches when they smell them.
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  • Fall '12
  • AmyFelix
  • epic battle, Ressentiment, human instinct

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