40 Overused Clichés That Will Destroy Your Content

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40 Overused Clichés That Will Destroy Your Content

These 40 Overused Clichés Will Kill Your Writing

overused cliches in writing

The 40 Overused Clichés – Part 1

Think you’re a good writer or marketing expert? Well think again if you are using these 40 overused clichés that will kill your writing. They are like chalk on a chalkboard (oh no – a cliché). And yes, sometimes, a cliché works just fine and your readers or audience are used to them and maybe even like them.

Okay, maybe you don’t pay close attention when you read someone else’s blog or look at marketing materials, but something doesn’t feel right or in this case, doesn’t read quite right.  Call them overused buzzwords – and yeah, the big corporations and companies LOVE to use them and attorneys as well. But should you? Ya know better, don’t you? Let’s examine them.

So what the heck is a cliché? According to the Oxford Dictionary:

Clichés are words and phrases that have been used so often that they’re no longer very interesting or effective.

They help you describe things and paint a picture, but have been so overdone that they become ineffective and well just plain annoying.

Clichés can “change your life” and “empower” you to “go the extra mile” and help you take your business writing “to the next level”.

No. Not true. That last sentence was all clichés in case you didn’t get that and I bet you did.

What a Cliché Signifies

  • Perhaps a bit of laziness. Can’t think of anything else to say? Okay, guilty.
  • Lack of creativity. Can’t think of other words to substitute for the cliché?
  • You’re rushed and we all understand that one as business owners. I’m sure we forgive you.
  • Ya just need some unnecessary padding or words, so a cliché is convenient.
  • You don’t even realize that the words you are using are a cliché.
Clichés in content writing signify laziness, lack of creativity and convenience. Click To Tweet

Don’t Act Like That Big Company

I know some big companies do a good job of marketing. But many use big complicated words and gobbledygook phrases that mean nothing – at least not to me. Hey, maybe I’m not their target market. And using an overused cliché means you don’t have to put that creative cap on (oops another one). But can’t big companies/small businesses simplify the language so that we can understand what the message is? The old KISS method works pretty darn good, right? Please agree.

On Writing Well

William Zinnser in his book On Writing Well says:

There is a kind of writing that might be called journalese, and its the death of freshness in anybody’s style. It’s the common currency of newspapers and of magazines like People—a mixture of cheap words, made-up words and clichés that have become so pervasive that a writer can hardly help using them. You must fight these phrases or you’ll sound like every hack.

If you haven’t read On Writing Well and want to improve your writing, it’s a must-read. You’ll be polishing up your blog posts and deleting unnecessary words that will improve help your content writing improve. (That’s my example of an improved sentence, get it?) The author says that you must simplify, simplify and simplify your writing so that you can be understood.

Simplify, simplify and simplify your writing so that your content can be understood.Click To Tweet

Because our attention spans are so short and you have seconds to capture a visitor’s attention to your website/marketing materials, your style of writing is so important.

Make your writing on your website hard to understand, use clichés and your prospect is gone.Click To Tweet

List of the Top 40 Overused Clichés and Buzzwords

Here’s my list of 40 top overused buzzwords in business and marketing – especially for online marketing and copywriting. This list is by no means scientific, but as a writer, I know that these overused clichés may or will kill your writing or blog.

  • actionable results
  • analyze the metrics (or anything with metrics)
  • at the end of the day
  • authentic
  • awesome
  • back to the drawing board
  • best practices
  • big picture
  • change your life
  • cut to the chase
  • diva
  • don’t hesitate to call/email…
  • drill down
  • empower
  • epic proportions or epic
  • from a 10,000 foot view (or 30,000, etc.)
  • get your creative juices flowing
  • go the extra mile
  • grow your business
  • guru
  • hit the ground running
  • leader
  • level the playing field
  • leverage
  • low-hanging fruit
  • multi-tasking
  • my bad
  • paradigm shift
  • partner with us
  • passion
  • push the envelope
  • raise the bar
  • ROI or return on investment
  • skills set
  • take it to the next level
  • testimonies (instead of testimonials)
  • that being said
  • thinking outside of the box
  • thought leadership
  • top of mind

Read Part 2 of overused clichés at 50 Overused Buzzwords That Will Destroy Your Writing. What other annoying phrases, overused clichés or buzzwords irritate you?  Used any of them? Hate to admit it, but I am so guilty. Comment below, please.

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Jo Guerra


  • Oh my gosh … love it! I still say a couple of them (yes guilty as charged), but most of them – no. In my simplification of things, I tend to remove “that” and “to” a lot because they are extra words and drive me batty. Can’t wait until part 2!

    January 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm
  • Love the post! I got the big picture on my cliches and will drill down for solutions – just kidding! I appreciate the suggestions to avoid overused words and cliches.

    January 19, 2017 at 1:57 pm
  • I am glad I stumbled upon this post while preparing my 1st blog post. Simplicity is good. Funny story; once we received a website request, and under the ‘preferred style’ client wrote ‘KISS’ ))) I had to Google it, and found that it stands for Keep It Simple Stupid.

    January 21, 2017 at 4:58 pm
  • Thanks for the list and the humorous, yet important article! I’m still trying to figure out a better word for “awesome” though 😉 Just imagine how much more we could all get done in a day if we didn’t have to read a 1000 extra filler words! OR Imagine how much we could get done, if we didn’t read 1000s of unnecessary words! 🙂

    January 23, 2017 at 12:24 pm
  • I’m guilty of a few of those, like authentic, grow your business, and that being said. That last one might not appear as often in my blog posts, but I know I use it in a lot of business emails! I also over use words like definitely, completely, great, etc. Thanks for the reminders!

    January 24, 2017 at 5:47 pm
  • I love that list! Hilariously nauseating cautionary read! I have another, now widely used by commentators: “to your point…” Argh. Thanks!

    January 27, 2017 at 9:43 am
  • This is a great post. Although I write about dog nutrition and don’t have an opportunity to use these statements, I see them many times in emails from SEO professionals who are offering their services. They’re huge red flags that this is a spammer. Something I’m certain business people do not want to align with when promoting their services or writing blog posts.

    January 27, 2017 at 1:03 pm
  • I still say a few of these but boy I hate cliche’s! Great post! I particularly hate “low hanging fruit” and “just saying” also!

    January 27, 2017 at 1:11 pm
  • Awwww….I’ve always liked Awesome and Paradigm Shift. Going to be extra mindful in my writing. Thanks, Jo.

    May 30, 2017 at 3:26 pm

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