Hackneyed phrases.


As writers we are constantly told that we need to find and use our own voice. Good advice; who wants to write like someone else? Well quite a few actually. Whenever the next “big thing” arrives and sets a trend it doesn’t take long for the many copycat issues to arrive on the book shelves.

But are we all guilty of using well versed hackneyed phrases in our writing?

News journalists – usually in print and especially in the red tops are probably the most guilty. Though to be fair, they do need to tell a story (and it usually is just that, with little or no truth) with a certain amount of brevity.

So next time you find yourself writing any of these phrases in your copy then “have a word with yourself.”

  • “The late great” Were they great? They may be dead, but that doesn’t indicate their “greatness” – whatever that might mean.
  • “It’s been a privilege and a pleasure” – it probably hasn’t been.
  • “The tragic” – usually associated with an early death of the subject being reported on. What’s the tragedy?
  • “Her indoors”. Simply insulting and misogynistic bullshit.
  • “I look forward to seeing you”. They probably don’t.
  • “She who must be obeyed”. Oh for fucks sake. Get a grip.

I’m sure you have plenty of other examples you can tell me about? Please leave a comment below.


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