What's a cliche, anyway? do I like this guy? (take II)

Subject: What's a cliche, anyway? do I like this guy? (take II)
From: Stuart Burnfield <sburnf -at- au1 -dot- ibm -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2006 08:15:05 +0800

Geoff said:
> All we can reasonably hope to do is ask and answer
> one simple question: "Does the current wording work?"
> If it does, perhaps it's not important that it's a cliché.
> After all, there's that whole "Open the X menu" or
> "Click the Y button" series of clichés. They work, so
> why bother striving for something more innovative
> that doesn't work nearly as well?

Are phrases like "Click the Y button" clichés? I would have thought a
cliché had to include some sort of image or metaphor, or a contrived form
of phrasing designed to draw attention to itself.

Business or office clichés are often based on 'dying metaphors', as
descibed by George Orwell in "Politics and the English Language":

"A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image,
while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically "dead" (e.g.
iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and
can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these
two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost
all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the
trouble of inventing phrases for themselves."

The whole essay is well worth reading:



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