Don't turn idiomatic into idiotic
Idioms, no doubt, are striking ways of expression but as they are used too often, they tend to lose their novelty If you want your English to be...
Idioms, no doubt, are striking ways of expression but as they are used too often, they tend to lose their novelty If you want your English to be effective, avoid using clichés in both speech and writing. Cliché is a word, phrase, expression or idea that has become meaningless through overuse. For instance, the moment you hear someone say 'The law will take its own course' or 'The right decision at the right time', you stop listening because you know s/he is not saying anything new or original. We all use clichés�sometime or the other. If children often use "It's my will and wish" to assert their preferences, grownups routinely welcome or thank "One and all". If old timers use clichés such as "Pros and cons" and "Better late than never", "Last but not the least", the more modern ones use "At the end of the day", "Bottom line", and "Level playing field". Diplomatic clichés include "Crossing the bridge when you come to it", while corporate clichés comprise "Taking it to the next level", "Incentivising", "Down the line", and management gobbledygook consists of phrases such as "Paradigm shift", "Win-win situation", "Out of the box thinking". Media, both print and electronic, has its own share of clichés: "Allegedly", "Outpouring /Groundswell of support", "Last-ditch effort", "Writing on the wall" etc. "In the long run" is a ubiquitous phrase in policy documents and its meaninglessness was exposed by the economist John Maynard Keynes who famously said "In the long run we are all dead". You would have noticed that some of the clichés are in fact idioms. They indeed are. There was a time when the use of idioms was seen as a sign of mastery over the language and a generous use of idioms was considered a mark of learning. But today, the trend is against idioms, and certainly against the overuse of them. Excessive use of hackneyed phrases will turn idiomatic English into idiotic English. Idioms no doubt, are striking ways of expression but as they are used too often, they tend to lose their novelty. It is almost impossible to avoid idioms completely because the English language is so full of them. But, as far as possible, they should be avoided, particularly in formal writing. Remember: the more 'colourful' the idiom, the less appropriate it is in formal situations. Besides idioms, clichés comprise jargon. Jargon is the specialised or technical language used in a particular profession, trade, or field of knowledge. Every profession has its own special vocabulary which may or may not make any sense, or may make a different sense, to those outside it. The 'in-group' vocabulary which facilitates quick communication among peers soon loses its originality due to indiscriminate use. In sum, clichés are not false or inaccurate. Used sparingly, they may even succeed. However, the use of clichés in writing or speech is considered a mark of inexperience or a lack of originality. People use clichés as a substitute for thinking hard and clearly about what they want to say. So, try to avoid using clichés�particularly in job applications, resumes, and SOPs�because they tend to annoy people and create an impression of laziness or a lack of careful thought. Clichés can even become a barrier to communication, as people tend to switch off when they hear a tired, overused phrase and so miss the very point that you're trying to make. Check how often you use these clichés: - Common man - In this day and age - Whims and fancies - All walks of life - Better than the best - Communication skills / Soft skills / Personality development - Cutting edge - Team player - Outreach - Giving 110%