Cliché

From Teflpedia

A cliché /ˈkliːʃeɪ/BrE /kliːˈʃeɪ/AmE, also written cliche, is a hackneyed phrase or expression which many people may consider annoying. Typically used by journalists as a sort of shortcut, clichés are the antithesis of good writing, which requires careful and original choice of words.

However much it might go against the grain to teach our students the use or meaning of certain clichés, our main aim as EFL/ESL teachers is to encourage understanding, not lay down the rules for stylistic use of language for native English users.

Cliché usage is rather register-dependent; people tend to talk an awful lot in clichés, but their use in formal or literary registers is discouraged. Low level students don’t use clichés as they are not familiar with them, but as they improve they will start to use clichés, and finally as students reach higher levels use of clichés should be discouraged in relevant registers. So encourage cliché use at low levels, but discourage it at high levels in inappropriate registers.

Examples[edit | edit source]

  • the acid test
  • at the crack of dawn
  • heave a sigh of relief
  • a needle in a haystack
  • take the bull by the horns
  • to make a long story short