George Orwell in his Rules of Writing said: "Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print." Be creative and come up with something fresh. A new analogy or metaphor will make much more of an impression on your readers than a dusty old cliche.
In this article, learn how to use ProWritingAid’s Cliches and Redundancies Report to improve your work.
How to Use the Cliches and Redundancies Report
The Cliches and Redundancies Report scours your work for cliches and highlights them. Nobody likes to read a cliche—the phrasing is trite and boring.
It can also remove redundant expressions as they say the same thing twice.
Whenever you use a cliche, you are knowingly writing something unoriginal. Cliches are what you write when you don’t have the energy or inspiration to think of something new to say.
Writers often use cliches when they are working on their first draft because thinking up original wording takes time and can interrupt creative flow. That’s fine. But, when you go back to edit, be creative and brainstorm for fresh ideas. A new analogy or metaphor will make much more of an impression on your readers than a dusty old cliche. A good writer may create and reject over a dozen images before finding the right one, so don’t worry if it takes you a while.
Every word in your writing should be there for a reason. Redundant expressions make writing longer, not better. Look at these four examples:
- She peered through the hollow tube.
- He stepped out on the frozen ice.
- She followed her natural instinct.
- His writing was peppered with overused cliches.
In all four cases, the penultimate word is superfluous. Redundancies can happen across a sentence, too:
- The problems first began when Gary lost his job.
The word began means “the first occurrence”, so the word "first" is redundant.
- Sam, Tom and Susie gathered together around the ﬁre.
The word gathered means “to come together”, so the word "together" is redundant.
- He reversed the car back down the driveway.
As opposed to reversing it forward ? Drop the word back because it’s redundant. Redundancies add quantity, not quality. Eliminate the clutter.
Use ProWritingAid’s Cliche and Redundancy Check to highlight those that have crept into your writing.
The Internet's Biggest List of Cliches and Redundancies
Want to see more examples of cliches? We’ve compiled hundreds in: