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November 6, 2005

Cliches and Colorful Language

Chapters 9 and 10 in The Elements of Journalism discuss the problems with journalists using colorful language or cliches. I thougth it was interstign when the book discussed in courtroom stories how often times the wardrobe of the lawyers, defendants, or witnesses are discussed. As I was reading the examples, they all seemed familiar to me, because I have seen suits worn by lawyers discussed. The author says this is unnecessary. As long as the lawyer is not in a swimsuit or evening gown, it can usually be assumed they will be wearing a suit or other professional attire. A journalist should comment on clothing only if it is unusual or necessary. When we worked on crime stories, we discussed how often times if a criminal is still on the loose it can be helpful to describe their clothing. Describing a lawyer's suit does not really serve a purpose.

The chapters also discuss cliches. The book provides a long list of some of the most used cliches. I often find it difficult to avoid cliches in my writing. Soemtimes a cliche already says soemthign that would fit into a paper perfectly, so why not use it? One reason is because using cliches are a form of laziness. A writer should try to be original and find their own words instead of the words of others. I think it is natural for people to use them in writing, because we often times use them in our everyday lives.

Posted by JennaOBrocto at November 6, 2005 4:48 PM


I often use "colorful language" in my writing. I've had to replace the "F" on my keyboard three times already.

Posted by: Michael Dell at November 11, 2005 11:16 PM

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