Thursday, September 4, 2008

Political speech = cliche fest

Hi all

One of the most important things you can do to improve your writing is to get rid of tired old words and phrases that jump into your work: clichés, jargon and overused terms. You can always find a clearer, fresher way to describe something. Using these terms makes your writing sound bush-league.

So, the first thing you need to do is look for them. That’s what first drafts are for.

Clichés are tired bits of phrase that you’ve heard a million times: “all’s fair in love and war...until the fat lady sings..._X____ nation, as is Fast Food Nation or Red Sox Nation…call it ----X…...This is not your father’s__X__...Fast forward to...the whole MasterCard/Priceless ad knock off.

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Jargon is technical speech that professionals use. As I health care writer I face tons of it: providers, outcomes, carotid endarterectomy.

And tired old terms include “worked his way up” or “wrote his own ticket.”
I pulled those two out of Dem VP candidate Joe Biden’s speech.

Political speeches – to use a cliché – are cliché minefields. (They will pop up in your film reviews too. No thumbs up or down!)

If the election were based on who used the most cliches, Palin would win in a landslide."... sheer guts...a true profile in courage...into harm's way...serving the country... makes for quite a package...door of opportunity...I was just your average...who lavishes praise...Washington elite... here's a little news flash...special interests...good-ol' boys network...And in short order... roar of the crowd... turning back the waters, etc

Some of this can be forgiven in this context-- they serve as buzz words to get a rise out of the crowd. But keep them out of what you hand in to me.


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