Overused expressions make me feral-cat crazy. They represent muddled, default thinking, and really don’t say anything important. When I read a cliche, my attention span automatically shuts down on that writer. If she doesn’t care enough to write something in an specific, clear, or original way, why should I care about the message? Perhaps at one time these phrases meant something, but in the interest of inspired communication, I hereby request that these blurbs be strip mined from the English-speaking world, stuffed into a biohazard barrel, and buried somewhere out in the Nevada desert.
1) “nip it in the bud”
I don’t like the word nip… who nips? Unless you’re a 19th century dandy boy holding a brandy snifter this phrase should be prohibited.
2) “on the same page”
As Twitter artist Kelly Oxford points out, you never want to be on the same page as someone who says “we’re on the same page.” Over-assuming and annoying.
3) “fell through the cracks”
Screams either lack of accountability or a laziness to describe what actually happened. Why not just shrug and stare at the floor instead?
4) “spinning your wheels”
Tired, and for some reason reminds me of the Flintstones.
5) “pushing the envelope”
I never understood this one so I looked it up. Turns out it has nothing to do with stationery, but is a math allusion. Math! How many times have you heard this and knew, albeit vaguely, what the person meant, even though the expression itself made no sense to you?
Dammit. Math has no place in writing. Everyone knows that…