Effective writing means trying to avoid the overuse of clichés (overused catch phrases and figures of speech)
e.g. busy NOT busy as a bee
e.g. confront the truth NOT face the music
e.g. everyone NOT each and every one
e.g. finally NOT last but not the least
e.g. firstly NOT first and foremost
e.g. gentle NOT gentle as a lamb
e.g. infrequent or seldom NOT few and far between
e.g. obviously NOT it goes without saying
e.g. seldom NOT once in a blue moon
Avoid weakling modifiers. Most of the following weakling modifiers can be removed without changing the meaning of a sentence:
e.g. herself, himself, itself, themselves
e.g. needless to say
e.g. per se
To use these weakling modifiers occasionally is permissible, but to use them frequently makes your writing ineffective.
Figures of speech add life and vividness to writing. Figures of speech compare one thing abstract with another thing, which is usually literal or concrete.
Metaphors are implied comparisons.
e.g. After listening to the speech of the senator, I was a volcano within although I was still calm without.
e.g. He is a hog at mealtime.
Similes are direct comparisons to bring out the imagination of the readers.
e.g. After listening to the speech of the senator, I was like a volcano about to erupt although I was still calm on the outside.
e.g. He eats like a hog.
Copyright© by Stephen Lau