5 Writing Clichés You Need To Stop Using Immediately
And what to say instead.
WHAT UP, MY WRITERS. Let’s improve the way you write and speak.
Ever wonder why so many people, you and me included, hesitate to ban clichés from their writing? It’s because clichés are easy. Everyone uses them. It’s writing on autopilot, and it’s so much easier than being original. Being original is HARD.
You are correct, of course. Good writing is hard and it takes longer. But the payoff is ridiculous, my friend. Your writing will hook more people. Your emails will gain clarity. Best of all, you’ll sleep better knowing you chose unique over trite.
I’m about to cover five writing clichés that make my eye twitch on a daily basis. Before I do, here’s a universal rule of thumb from a wise man.
On to the clichés. Ban these immediately.
Used by: B2B websites. People who have a product and no clue how to sell it.
Bad writing: Spacely Space Sprockets, Inc. has centuries of expertise and unbeatable technical prowess. We offer custom solutions at a better price.
What to do instead: Tell people what your solution actually is and why they should care.
Good writing: You’ve landed at Spacely, home of the finest sprockets in the galaxy. This is where people go after Cogswell’s Cogs let them down.
2. Attached, please find
Used by: Professionals sending an email with an attachment included.
Bad writing: Attached, please find the Q4 numbers.
What to do instead: Scroll back up to Dreyer’s writing tip. Would you ever say “Attached, please find” out loud to someone? You could try. Let me know how it goes. Instead, I’d recommend the conversational and concise route.
Good writing: The Q4 numbers are attached.
3. That’s why
Used by: Copywriters looking for a transition. Brands trying their best to be authentic and human.
Bad writing: At Big Fat Insurance Company, we believe paying too much for car insurance is bad. That’s why we offer the lowest premiums. Guaranteed.
What to do instead: On the surface, “that’s why” doesn’t seem too bad, right? But take a closer at who’s using it. It’s always a brand. As a result, actual humans read “that’s why” and instinctively treat the words that follow with skepticism. Not ideal.
Good writing: Quit paying too much for car insurance. Shop Big Fat (like, right now) to see how much you’ll save.
4. Touch base
Used by: Professionals everywhere who want to appear relaxed and informal. They’re typically not fans of baseball despite what the phrase would lead you to believe.
Bad writing: Let me know when you have a few minutes to touch base.
What to do instead: Concise, people. Always choose it. Use one word rather than two.
Good writing: Let me know when you have a few minutes to chat.
5. Hop on a quick call
Used by: Conference call aficionados.
Bad writing: Sorry, I think there’s been some miscommunication. Can we hop on a quick call?
What to do instead: Ban conference calls. Literally hop on your landlines until they break.
Good writing: Sorry, I think there’s been some miscommunication. I’ll try being a better writer.