Clichs

Beware of clichés. Clichés are over-used idioms and using them is not respected in English. Although such phrases may seem to be colorful and certainly offer a seductive temptation to sound like a native English speaker, don't use them. They are considerably less effective than the simple direct words for which they stand.

Clichés in many languages are helpful, and in some languages preferred, but in English they are words once considered original and now regarded as trite. Clichés, in a language as dynamic and changing as English, quickly become so dated that reading them distracts people or, worse, invites them to laugh.

Familiar idioms which are so familiar as to have become clichés are of some value in informal conversation but not in scientific writing. Even in conversation, repetition of familiar descriptive phrases is not particularly respected or considered courteous. English speakers become slightly embarrassed for a speaker, and especially for a writer, who uses an overly familiar, out-of-date, descriptive phrase. Such phrases can seem slightly childish and the user may be thought to lack sophistication. Clichés are not appropriate in research reports. Table 3.2 displays some clichés from unpublished papers: The clichés are underlined.

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