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Sep 18 / King Kaufman

20 cliches to avoid: The Bleacher Report blacklist

Thanks to the efforts of the intrepid Bleacher Report cliché-killing team—that’s you people—we have put together a blacklist of words and phrases that must be avoided.

Will B/R writers drink the Kool-Aid and step up, taking their writing to the next level by staying away from these 20 clichés when push comes to shove? That’s easier said than done, so time will tell. At the end of the day, we’ll take it one game at a time, live and learn. First and foremost, it’s important that we’re all on the same page. If we fail, we’ll go back to the drawing board.

So without further ado, are you ready for some clichés? Here’s the blacklist:

  • Easier said than done
  • Time will tell
  • When push comes to shove
  • Drink the Kool-Aid
  • Jump on the bandwagon
  • Back to the drawing board
  • Mail it in
  • One game at a time
  • Do or die
  • Back against the wall
  • Live and learn
  • On the same page
  • First and foremost
  • Are you ready for some X
  • It is what it is
  • At the end of the day
  • To the next level
  • Tis the season
  • Step up
  • Without further ado

So how are we going to use this blacklist?

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of writing on the site, we’re stepping up our feedback efforts for Bleacher Report writers. Avoiding clichés is just one small part of what we’ll look for, but it’s an important part. Cliché-filled writing is a sign that the writer is—if I may—mailing it in, though clichés can have their place if used consciously for effect. See what I did there?

We came up with this list by asking readers of this blog and our copy editing staff for help in identifying the worst offenders. There was then spirited debate among the Quality Control team as we pared the list down to these 20. And, full disclosure, there was not a single email or instant message in that debate that did not include at least one cliché used for humorous effect.

We’ll be looking for the 20 clichés on this blacklist as we evaluate the writing on Bleacher Report, but it’s best to think of the list as a guide. It’s really just a beginning. You should always be on the lookout for any clichés, hackneyed phrases and other instances of lazy, “auto-pilot” writing in your own work.

Look for more information about our beefed up feedback and evaluation system in the next few weeks.

  • Flamekeeper_Ty

    Here is why clichés are bad. One of my very favoritest pieces of writing, George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language:”

  • Ken Kraetzer

    King, good note, should we send the list to some of the coaches we cover? best, Ken

  • backell

    Sounds like a conversation between Tom Thibodeau and Tim Tebow. ;)

    First and foremost, I never thought of some of these as cliches, but at the end of the day I guess I just have to live and learn. I have to step up and get it done. I have to take my writing to the next level.

    I’m just glad that now we’re on the same page.

  • Jesse Reed

    Damn you for expecting us to use our brains!!

  • Adam Nystrom

    I do hope everyone with publishing credentials takes the time to read this. There is a reason we put together the list.

  • Adam Fromal

    This may be easier said than done…but I guess only time will tell.

  • Ian Leach

    LOL. I actually used the phrase “at the end of the day”, but I’d deleted that phrase out at some point. I just went back and looked just to make sure.

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabizzle

    “[team x] controls its own destiny” needs to be on the Banned Cliche List

  • Them Apples

    “unmitigated disaster”
    So tired of seeing every poor sports season called this.

  • Sean O’Donnell

    With my back against the wall, I’ll have to get back to the drawing board. At the end of the day, only time will tell if this is easier said than done. When push comes to shove, its the season to step up. After all, we should be on the same page; this is do or die. First and foremost, we’ll live and learn because it is what it is.It’s time to mail it in and take it one game at a time. Let’s all jump on the bandwagon on this one. Are you ready for some clichés? Nah, I’m just going to take some time and drink the Kool-Aid.

    Whew. Got it all out of my system :)

  • Robert Wood

    Good stuff King. The list seemed a little harsh at first, but it helps me see my writing from a different perspective, which is always a god thing.
    Here’s my recommendation for a cliche to add to your updated list:

    “Team X controls their own destiny.” (unless Team X’s cheerleaders are The Fates and/or their head coach is John Calvin)

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