Recent lists of clichés we can do without and words that are over-used got me to reminiscing about my first semester of high school journalism.
Our teacher, Gunnar Horn, was considered the “dean” of high school journalism teachers and newspaper advisors. He, yes, literally, wrote the book. One of our requirements was to make a notebook of examples of the things we learned in class.
Along with the clippings of parodies, straight leads and inverted pyramids, we were to come up with 500 synonyms for “said” and 500 clichés. Was it pure busywork? Maybe, but it still makes me acutely aware of overused words and trite phrases when I’m writing news releases, blogs and letters.
Do I catch myself using and overusing words and phrases? Yah, you bettcha! But every time I do, I resolve to find a synonym, or to rephrase that cliché.