Clichés writers should ‘avoid like the plague’

A Washington Post editor shares the list of words and phrases its newsroom tries to ‘shutter.’ Alas, there’s ‘no silver bullet.’ Plus, making an entrance, why a former journalist left the news, the ‘skinny’ on American Eagle’s April Fool’s joke, and more.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

If puns are “the highest form of literature,” as Alfred Hitchcock once asserted, then clichés are like the reality TV of writing: We love to trash these linguistic crutches, but they’re irresistible—hard to avoid, like the plague—and so often gratifying.

But Washington Post Outlook editor Carlos Lozada is putting his foot down. Seeing his field at a crossroads, he shared with media blogger Jim Rosenesko the running list of clichés that his newsroom attempts to sidestep. It includes terms such as “shutter,” “no silver bullet,” “pundits (or critics) say,” and “sparked debated.” Clearly, this is just the tip of the iceberg, however.

These declarations may not be clichés, but according to BuzzFeed, they are the greatest understatements ever made.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.