Advice - Writing

Cliches, Conundrums, and Chestnuts

clichesHackneyed phrases, slang, and truisms should be eliminated from your writing vocabulary as much as possible. This is one time where you should not write what is commonly heard. These phrases are so overused they are loathed by writing professionals. Cliches are frequently combined into several groups. You may use these in conversation, but don’t use them in your fiction!

Comparison Cliches:

  • As red as a tomato
  • As cool as a cucumber
  • As dark as night
  • As deep as the sea
  • As loud as thunder


Sayings (or proverbs):

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush….
  • The journey of a thousand miles….
  • The writing on the wall….
  • Two birds in the hand….



  • If I said you had a beautiful body…
  • Do you know karate because your body is kickin’?



  • Like a thief in the night
  • Madly in love
  • Easier said than done
  • I wouldn’t be in their shoes for their socks
  • What’s good for the goose is good for the gander
  • So many you couldn’t stir them with a stick


Conundrums (Pairs):

  • Hot to trot
  • Locked and loaded
  • Wining and dining
  • Fame and fortune
  • Tit for Tat
  • Black and blue



  • Cast pearls before swine
  • Up the creek without a paddle
  • Raining cats and dogs
  • Running around in circles
  • Making like a bandit
  • Rounding the bend
  • Up in Smoke


Trendy Words (Used Today, Laughed at Tomorrow):

  • Awesome
  • Totally
  • Groovy
  • Cool
  • Like (where it’s, like, not supposed to be)
  • Radical
  • Gnarly

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