Website Wednesdays: Clichés

Website Wednesdays 2

Clichés are best avoided in academic writing.  They are unclear, not specific, and generally can lead to reader confusion.  Clichés often only have very general meanings, if indeed they mean anything, and thus do not help support your paper’s argument with any specificity.  If, for example, you are describing historic trends in the consumption of various meats, you do not want to say “from the beginning of time people have always eaten meat.”  All this phrase does is leave open questions about when, and what meat and people.  Rather, you should state the time period, a particular century perhaps, and include the meats and people under study.  Thus, a more specific sentence is “US consumption of red meat decreased over the last three decades of the twentieth century, with a correlated increase in poultry evident.”  Then, of course, you could analyze potential historical factors leading to these changes.

To learn more about clichés and how to avoid, visit The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center: Clichés.  Finally, remember to avoid clichés like the plague.

Best, Dr. Ferdinando

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