Claims Writing Coach: Avoiding Clichés

By Gary Blake | February 9, 2018

Clichés are trite written or verbal expressions that are used over and over, eventually wearing themselves out and communicating very little. At first, a phrase is coined and gains popularity (e.g., “Enclosed please find,” “do not hesitate to call,” “point in time”). After a while, people tire of the phrase and it loses whatever luster it had.

The world of entertainment has created many phrases that have gone from often repeated and wildly popular (e.g. “make you an offer you can’t refuse,” “final answer?”, “fake news,” “master of my domain”) to overused. Clichés are the trash heap of a language.

So, if you want your writing to be cliche-free, make it a point to never use a phrase that you are used to seeing in print. In addition, stay away from the following phrases that have “worn out their welcome” – yet another cliche.

  1. acid test
  2. as soon as possible
  3. back to square one
  4. back to the drawing board
  5. ballpark figure
  6. better late than never
  7. beyond a shadow of a doubt
  8. bottom line
  9. brainstorm
  10. bread-and-butter issue
  11. bury the hachet
  12. can of worms
  13. cost-effective
  14. dealing with
  15. dialogue
  16. do’s and don’ts
  17. escalates
  18. expertise
  19. eyeball (used as a verb)
  20. feedback
  21. few and far between
  22. first and foremost
  23. gentle reminder
  24. get in on the ground floor
  25. great success
  26. grind to a halt
  27. hands-on
  28. hence
  29. heretofore
  30. hit the nail on the head
  31. it’s a pleasure doing business with you
  32. light of day
  33. meaningful
  34. next to nothing
  35. no-no
  36. not a minute too soon
  37. overkill
  38. point in time
  39. putting the cart before the horse
  40. richly deserved
  41. state of the art
  42. thanking you in advance
  43. top dollar
  44. tried and true
  45. try it on for size
  46. under review
  47. viable
  48. vitally important
  49. welcome you with open arms
  50. win-win situation
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About Gary Blake

Gary Blake is director of The Communication Workshop, offering claims writing webinars and seminars to claims professionals throughout the US, Bermuda, Canada, and the UK. Blake is the author of The Elements of Business Writing (Pearson Education), used at more than 100 insurance companies. He has written about claims writing for a number of industry publications. His e-mail is garyblake725@gmail.com. More from Gary Blake