Cliches have a way of sneaking into one's writing. They have become a natural extension of everyday English language, so in our writing, they may feel more authentic or truthful.
However, the real truth is that cliches most often detract from the authenticity of one's prose. They dilute detail and specificity. They leave your prose sounding similar to the next applicant's. Some common cliches that pop up in admissions essays include:
* Fly by the seat of your pants (figure things out as they come along)
* Crossing that bridge when we come to it (figure things out as they come along)
* Burning bridges (severing ties to important contacts)
* Pushing the envelope (exceeding limits; setting a new trend)
* Burning the midnight oil (working late)
* Reinvent the wheel (do what has already been done, made, invented)
* The whole nine yards (everything)
* Jump on the bandwagon (follow the crowd; do what is popular)
* Strike while the iron is hot (act quickly while there is attention being given)
* Between a rock and a hard place (to have no good choice)
* Dot your "i"s and cross your "t"s (finish the details of the job)
Other cliches can be more colorful and less obvious ("That dog will hunt" is my father's favorite--a southern cliche that affirms a strong choice), but they are still idiomatic expressions that most frequently fail to capture the essence of an idea.
Questions on cliches and how to avoid them? Email us!