Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cliché: everything but the kitchen sink

Meaning: everything but what they couldn’t grab and haul
Rewrite 1: everything but the front door
Rewrite 2: everything but the walk-in closet
Rewrite 3: all they left was the floor and a few walls
Rewrite 4: they took everything but the wall sockets and switches

Comment: There are a couple of ways to look at this cliché: One is, “they took everything but what they couldn’t physically haul” and another is, “they left everything but the essentials.” They both narrow down your choices.

Rewriting tips: What besides the kitchen sink couldn't you grab and haul? Built-in appliances like stoves and microwaves; plumbing fixtures like sinks, toilets, bidets, and tubs/showers; walls, doors, windows, floors, fireplaces, cabinets and countertops; ceilings like lighting fixtures, fans, and attic doors; basement stairs; furnace; water heater; water softener; built-in speakers; and so on.

What about other places or things where you could broaden the sense of the cliché: in the office, store, or school; in a vehicle like the car, van, truck, or SUV; in a town like city hall, cop shop, or library; or even in the sky like clouds, the moon, or the sun?

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