Sunday, November 13, 2005

Cliché: take a long walk off a short pier

Meaning: leave and don’t come back, or get lost. Use examples.
Rewrite 1: take a slow walk through fast traffic
Rewrite 2: take a walk and forget where you started from
Rewrite 3: take a
jogis2b through a rottweiler’s yard
Rewrite 4: have a good
runn21 through a bad neighborhood

Comment 1: There is in this cliché a hint of someone who doesn’t like to whomever the comment is addressed, more as a
curse than a blessingn3. It’s about leaving and being careless about where you go.

Comment 2: In rewrite 2 above, I end the sentence with a
preposition (from). Before I receive a host of e-mails in complaint, you should know that the requirement* to never end a sentence with a preposition is a guideline based on a myth. So says Copy Editor, a newsletter for professional editors. Furthermore, since clichés are based on the vernacular, moving the preposition into the body of the sentence (e.g., take a walk and forget from where you came) would sound awkward and forced.

usage note

More reading about clichés
What I found when I
googled “clichés”:
Business Jargon Protest Mugs Copy Contest: “Short lines to protest the ridiculous jargon and clichés that permeate business language...”

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