Definition of cliches and their origin
As writers, we have been told not to include cliches in our writing since elementary school, no matter how good they sound. Cliches do sound good, so have you wondered why teachers give this advice?
Of course, if everybody else uses it a lot, the cliche will lose its powerful message and steal power from your writing. Any overused phrase lacks potency because so many people say it.
You want to stand apart with your language and be unique, an influencer with powerful ideas. Cliches in writing convey weakness.
This does not mean that the message behind the cliche is impotent, just that the phrase itself lacks power in a blog post.
Cliches and proverbs are cultural phenomena, showing up in all societies. They often are positive and uplifting, always offering advice on how to live.
Many proverbs and cliches arise from the religious and famous texts of a culture, and they are memorable because they are short and usually metaphorical or visual, characteristics that click with our human brains.
Why do all cultures have them?
Nothing defines a culture as distinctly as its language, and the element of language that best encapsulates a society's values and beliefs is its proverbs. ... Proverbs are short and pithy sayings that express some traditionally held truth. They are usually metaphorical and often, for the sake of memorability, alliterative. And, as so many proverbs offer advice and uplift, many of them are religious in origin.
So, some keys for a successful proverb include:
Writers can employ the advice from cliches
The advice in cliches and proverbs is often solid and helpful because it is circulated culturally and sticks in people's minds, offering helpful meaning in few words.
Since the advice is generally good, I wonder how the advice might be applied to writing. I found a lot of healthy advice in my exploration.
Below you will find the top 25 cliches and proverbs that provide useful writing advice. I found them at www.phrases.com.uk, and they link to a history and meaning of the cliche (if you are interested):
What other cliche's provide good advice for writers? What's your favorite cliche? Create your own proverb and share it with us. I will help you spread your next viral cliche.
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