Cliché Corner                                                last edited: 31 August 2011

Every one knows that in business and general conversation clichés should be avoided like the plague - they're old hat! However, as this Institution is literally almost unique in being user-focused and empowered to share the big picture, we have, by popular demand and in order to keep up with the Joneses and not beat around the bush, established Cliché Corner as a sub-section of our Spotty Ribbon Campaign. see also our Top of the plops crapometer.

In a nutshell, the primary function of this section is to pull the rug from under those hackneyed, well-worn words and phrases that get right up one's nose when they are trotted out willy-nilly. See what we mean by guessing what comes next in the following.......

  • it's in the lap of the.....
  • light at the end of .......
  • falling between ......
  • barking up the ......
  • it's not over until the ......

Our list may be relatively small at this moment in time, but if we keep our noses to the grindstone and get up to speed we may turn it into an interactive database, like our isms database collection. If you wish to share your thoughts and add to Cliché Corner then please contact us at our usual e-mail address; we'll run your suggestion up the flagpole and see who salutes. Hey, but don't just send us a cliché, tell us why it annoys you. We're hoping to list more clichés than you can shake a stick at. Any more suggestions? email the ISMS

Below are a few we’ve heard, or been sent, to get the ball rolling.......

Cliché Contributor's comments Contributor
During the spell of really bad weather in the UK (Nov/Dec 2010) the following were trotted out over and over again during every forecast on local and national TV, thus giving them cliché status: bitterly cold; bitterly bitterly cold; temperatures will plummet; temperatures will plunge; treacherous conditions; freezing temperatures; JRP
I'm going to segway into the next section We don't know whether this is bad use of a cliché or just rubbish!
We also know it should be segue but it was written as segway in this person's speaking notes and where possible we record exactly what we see or hear
None of us are time rich Currently being bandied about as a substitute for 'we haven't got the time to do it' (We know it should be "none of us is time rich" but this is how we heard it and where possible we record exactly what we see or hear.)JRP
Going forwardCurrently favoured by senior managers and staff - everywhere.
Every presentation or discussion on planning has to include numerous mentions of 'going forward' instead of the much nicer 'in the future'. see our ongoing going forward ometer
That being said, let's agree to disagree. In other words, you're absolutely correct but I'm not going to admit it to your face! Aqlqt
We need to see it through the lens of XYZ translation: we need to see it from XYZ's point of view! JOE
Don't have an allergic reaction to ......whatever translation: don't worry or be concerned about it JRP
It's got traction This is becoming more and more prevalent as and updated version of the old cliché it's got legs. JRP
Are they sighted on that? translation: 'do they know about it?' or 'have they seen it?' ........... then why not just say that??  II
woefully inadequate I know my performance is generally poor, but does it always have to be woefully so? ALF
sick as a parrot I've never seen a sick parrot - are they prone to illness? ALF
far-reaching consequences must all consequences be far-reaching? Hands up for consequences closer to home. IAM
I'll keep my ear to the ground In order to keep one's backside in the air - for kissing purposes, no doubt IAM
Brownie points What the **** are brownie points anyhow? IAM
Catch 22 situation Being used now for any awkward situation not just a one you can't get out of IAM
It goes without saying.... if that's true, then why say it? MN
credit crunchNever really used until Spring 2008 and now every financial reference in the media must contain the words credit crunch!II
that's given you time to recharge your batteriesI always feel extremely patronised by this comment. SLR-R
Let's remind ourselves....Cheesy and over-used link into repeating something; often an old item of news or as a blatant repetition of previous work by a college lecturerSJR
Heads upMany business people no longer tell colleagues about something; they now give them a head's up!
Head's up their own backside methinks?
Risk radar As in “was that on our risk radar”. Why no just say, did we know about that! JRP
Workforce planning In our organisation that just means redundancy planning! JRP
The resources that work for you Please call them people! RM
So I turned around and said..... Bet you didn't turn around!JRP
Free gift As opposed to a gift you pay for? JRP
The vast majority Must every majority be vast? JRP
Clearly, ..... Clearly, this is being overused and clearly, I'm just fed up with this one! Clear? JRP
Captions under newspaper photographs where 'Mr X and Mr Y can be seen sharing a joke...." Usually they're caught doing nothing more than standing close to each other having a drink and a sandwich. JRP
Safe haven A safe place of safety? JRP
Utilisation Instead us use. Mostly in relation to operating theatres JRP
Soccer: "... there's no score yet!" Yes there is, it's nil-nil ME
Let's make sure we're all singing from the same hymn sheet Oh, go away! ME
Go the extra mile If, every day, I went the extra mile, by Friday I'd be miles away from home SLR-R
He speaks 5 different languages In case you think he speaks 5 languages but they're all the same? JR
Rushed to hospital Do paramedics sometimes take a leisurely drive? IV
Giving 110% Stop it. Mathematically, it's not possible and you're making the rest of us look bad! GW
Thinking outside the box Until someone thinks outside the box and comes up with a replacement for thinking outside the box we're boxed in with this cliché. JRP
It strikes me ...... Sometimes I just wish someone would strike them. Hard! JRP
Oh my God! Standard, meaningless exclamation for 90% of the UK population - offensive to the other 10%. What does it really mean? Most often heard at the 'reveal' stage of every tatty home makeover programme on TV. JRP
Send no money now! How can I send no money? JD
I'm going into solution mode! Eh? Is that from a Red Dwarf script or is he changing into a puddle of water? RP
I'm not up to speed I just hate it, is that enough to get it on the page? ME
Let's get back to the drawing board Old hat, mate! We're all using CAD these days. RR
At the end of the day Thinking of phrases that only debaters use, surely, at the end of the day, this is the most over-used? (see also ism #845) DP
24/7 24/7 was always a cliché that I hated but recently, it had to happen eventually, I heard 24/7/365. Is there no end? JRP
At the end of the day the bottom line is... A real double whammy! SLR-R
I feel your pain This usually comes from the person who is the source of one’s “pain” and what they are actually implying is “I don’t care about your problems, just shut up and do what I asked.” DR
At the minute Isn't it supposed to be "at the moment".  It really grates on my nerves.  WES
So _____ Everything these days is so cool, so amazing, so gross, so like Friends. So what! (see also Totally) JRP
Totally ______ Everything these days is totally cool, totally amazing, totally gross, totally like Friends. Totally pathetic! (see also So) JRP
Voice mail Whatever happened to the answer phone? DW
I'm on my mobile A child's toy hung above a cot?
[we've always wondered why a portable computer is never referred to as a mobile computer - Ed.]
Best practice It seems to be commonly thrown into phrases like “Industry best practice in this area is …” or “Best practice guidelines dictate that …”.  Surely this should be “good industrial practice”, or even “the best practice”, but never “best practice” by itself. KB
I'll take that on board! Ahoy, there and weigh anchor? JRP
I wanted to touch base with you. Not on a first date you don't! And what are these people wanting to touch? MY
Let's do lunch. What are we going to "do to it?" MY
Funner Speaks for itself. Television personalities are using this non-word! Well, being on the television--say no more. MY
Soccer: "We're hoping for a result today!" OK, just don't turn up and you'll get one: 0-0 (result!) and the other team will win (result!) H-L
Major breakthrough Police, scientist and so on no longer just make progress PI
Nothing works better! So use nothing; it’ll be cheaper JV

The following is our current world record sentence for Clichés. Have you heard a better one?

Well, at the end of the day we should see some light at the end of the tunnel,
but if Mr X is not up to speed than that's his lookout and we can't be bending over backwards 24/7 to help him!

Heard in my office today (18/8/05) from a colleague on the phone. Is this a record for the longest set of Clichés in a sentence? JRP


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