Need a good writing tip? Avoid cliches like the plague. Well, that’s a pretty obvious one, but even less conspicuous cliches should be skipped in college essays.
What exactly is a cliche? Cliches are a convenient, if not lazy, writing tool. They are phrases and expressions that are so overused that they’ve become annoying.
The problem is that they often “feel right” because they concisely communicate a writer’s message. It’s a lot easier for a student to write “I left my comfort zone when I ….” than it is to try to describe what it felt like to do something that he/she doesn’t ordinarily do.
Students know enough not to use cliches, but have a hard time identifying them. When editing your essay, question any comparison or image you’ve used. Cliches can sneak in when we try to be descriptive.
Ask yourself if the phrase is one that you’ve heard frequently on television or in casual conversation. Forgo the familiar and be creative. But beware, if you use the thesaurus make sure the word you choose makes sense.
Here’s a sampling of some of the most offensive and most frequently used cliches in college essays:
• Expanding my horizons.
• The big picture.
• Less is more.
• All walks of life.
• There was a glimmer of hope in his eye.
• They couldn’t see eye to eye.
• Never a dull moment.
• Writing was on the wall.
• Think outside the box.
• At the end of the day.
• When life gives you lemons.
The bottom line is, avoid them like the plague!