Avoid Clichés Like the Plague!

Avoid Clichés Like the Plague!

Language is used to communicate ideas orally or in writing. It displays a great amount about the person writing or speaking. It would not be incorrect to say that when we write or speak to describe something we actually (inadvertently) describe a lot about ourselves. I have written several blogs on ‘English’. This is one more blog to help my students write and speak better English.

Never Use Clichés

I notice that some of my students use clichés thinking that it makes their English expression impressive. This is a totally wrong notion.

What is a Cliché?

A cliché is a word or phrase that has been overused in writing and speaking and has totally lost its effectiveness.  Clichés usually contribute nothing to the message you are trying to convey and will be viewed, by the reader, or listener as padding. Examples:

  • Leave no stone unturned.
  • Till the cows come home.
  • At the end of the day.
  • Actions speak louder than words.

The rule to be followed is to totally avoid use of such phrases for better language and expression.

Use of Comma and Full Stop

It may seem surprising to some but then I have several students who think that a comma can be a substitute for a full stop. This is wrong. By doing so students write long sentences.   Long sentences increase our chances of writing grammatically wrong English and confusing the reader. It is much better to write short sentences.

Use Big English Words to Impress

Use of difficult English words to impress is another wrong idea. Often the user ends up displaying his ignorance of not knowing the proper use of the word! Use of simple words and short sentences is actually good language.

“Mass Nouns”

It is very common to see addition of letter‘s’ to “mass nouns” to make them plural. This mistake is so common that some may be surprised to note that it actually is a mistake. Examples:
Equipment cannot be written as ‘equipments’ to denote plurality. “Equipments” is no word in English. Several other such words often used wrongly are:

  • Crew is right & “crews” is wrong.
  • You cannot add the letter‘s’ to paper, sugar, wood, steel, oil, luggage and information to make them plural. There are several other such common nouns. Please know them and use them correctly.

Conclusion: Improve English

I keep highlighting common English errors as described above and maybe will continue to do so as my students keep bringing the common mistakes to my notice.

Note: The title of the blog is a cliché. It has been done deliberately to denote poor expression!
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