Welcome to the world of journalism. At the end of the day, all writers hope they've successfully hammered out a story that goes above and beyond, highlighting the unsung heroes of the world.

Welcome to the world of journalism. At the end of the day, all writers hope they've successfully hammered out a story that goes above and beyond, highlighting the unsung heroes of the world.


Ugh, there were far too many cliches in that last sentence.


These tired, trite and overused phrases are so pervasive because they're easy. Word choice, while clearly an important part of any writing activity, can be overlooked when one is on deadline. Finding a familiar phrase is a shortcut.


Chris Jones, a Dow Jones journalist, recently put together a list of journalism's worst cliches.


At the top of the list? "At the end of the day," which Jones said appeared in 21,268 articles over the past 15 months.


Cliches seem to fall into two categories: the groan-worthy and the sneaky. In my first sentence above, the cliches are pretty cut-and-dry (oops, there's another one) and easy to avoid. But sometimes a word or phrase becomes the norm, and writers and editors hardly notice it. Think "concerned residents" or "heated debate."


Writers of all types aim for originality. Cliches, while they might seem clever, often lack real meaning - they've become too familiar. Plus, if it's a groaner, the phrase can take a reader out of the story, and no one wants that.


A couple of good resources on cliches that often appear in newspaper stories:


Cliche Finder


More Cliches Than You Can Shake a Stick At