Monday, January 24, 2011

Cliché: I'm not getting any younger

Meaning: impatience; literally, I'm getting old waiting for you (example)

Rewrite: you take so long, my wrinkles are getting bigger than my boobs
Rewrite: I'm on my second pair of dentures waiting for you
Rewrite: the seasons seem to come and go with you
Rewrite: you might think I'm looking for dirt under my nails; I'm actually watching them grow
Rewrite: my alarm clock is having a nervous breakdown over here

Comment: Is it me, or does this sound like Billy Crystal playing the old man saying these lines? It isn't intentional. Maybe it's because the original idiom is kind of a punch line, anyway.

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Use humor in your writing
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Monday, January 17, 2011

Cliché: bet dollars to doughnuts, I'll

Meaning: bet something of significance against something less significant (example)

Rewrite: bet dollars to dimes
Rewrite: bet hub caps to lug nuts
Rewrite: bet Cadillacs to Yugos
Rewrite: bet screws to glue sticks
Rewrite: bet gallons to pints
Rewrite: bet trees to saplings

Comment: There's present here a confidence that you're betting something of higher value against something of lesser value because you're going to win.

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Just what do those idioms mean?
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cliché: if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times

Meaning: frustration at having to repeat something too often (example)

Rewrite 1: I must be in an echo chamber, I'm saying it again!
Rewrite 2: I could swear I've heard me say this before
Rewrite 3: Let me say it for the thousand-and-first time...
Rewrite 4: maybe you didn't hear it the first thousand times
Rewrite 5: I've said this hundreds of times already, but let me repeat one last time for effect

Comment: There's a lot of sarcasm present in these rewrites, perhaps because the original is so close to stating the case with only some exaggeration. Can you say this in a meaningful way without sarcasm?

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Some writing calls for sarcasm
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Monday, January 03, 2011

Cliché: ice water in his veins

Meaning: cold reserve such that nothing bothers him (example)

Rewrite 1: Arctic water in his veins
Rewrite 2: glacier runoff in his arteries
Rewrite 3: cold beer in his pipes
Rewrite 4: refrigerator coolant in his lungs
Rewrite 5: running on freezing rain and hailstones
Rewrite 6: oozes smoothies through his heart

Comment: I'm thinking very cold and very slow to excite.

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Getting back to nature
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