The Grammar Witch Takes On Clichés

We've heard them, we've probably used them, we've shuddered at their mere mention-- yes, I'm talking about a writer's worst nightmare: clichés. So, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some common clichés/inspirational quotes/phrases I don't like and put my own spin on them. Feel free to have a good-natured argument with me in the comments if you don't agree with me.

Chapter 1

"Sometimes, there just aren't words."

Okay, so I've heard this one all my life and as a writer, I have to argue against it. There's always some way to describe something using good old-fashioned words. Sometimes you have to use sensory details and imagery. Sometimes you have to use onomatopoeia, similes, or metaphors to get your point across. Sometimes you need to look in a thesaurus to get a more precise word for the message you want to send or the emotion you feel.

But, sometimes, things get so gruesome or sad or awful that we think mere words can't capture it. Trust me, there's a word for it, whether it's disgusting or gory or horrifying or heartbreaking. It might not be a very pleasant word or a nice, clean little description, but there's a word for it.

Or if not, there's words for it. There could be phrases, sentences, or paragraphs describing what you want to say. There could be stanzas, lines, even whole pages of words making your point, expressing your feelings, et cetera.

Still not convinced? Well, there's adjectives. Let me go on about adjectives and adverbs. If you can't use a literary device, there has to be some adjective or adverb that helps you describe an event or capture a moment. Even if that adjective is unbelievable, incredible, or incomprehensible. Those are still words.

In short, I think we have it backwards. Sometimes there just aren't words? No. Let me rephrase that. "Sometimes, they aren't just words." They're phrases. They're sentences. They're ideas.They're stories. But they are never just words.

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