Some cliches, regardless if they makes sense or not, have outstayed their welcome, hence the cliche label. Tired phrases that many people default to by force of habit, rather than any inherit desire to facilitate better communication, often slip by unnoticed due to their ubiquitous and repetitive nature. That doesn’t mean we should let them off. Here are a few worn-out sayings that need to be shot, buried in a deep grave (always better than a shallow grave) and then forgotten about:
1. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Really? If a lion chews off your arms and legs, but you survive the overall attack, would you be stronger than when you first hopped out of the Land Rover for a photo op, against your guide’s explicit warnings of doing so because of “man-eating lions” in the vicinity?
2. “And so it begins …”
Standing on the ramparts, watching the big battle about to begin (like in the film “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” and countless other movies), stating the obvious. Yes, a massive army is descending upon you. Some shit is about to begin. Bet you’ve been waiting your entire life to say that line.
3. “We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way.”
Oh, the hard way. Please, please, please? I enjoy pain and suffering bolstered by threats of violence, torture and misery. I’ll definitely choose the hard way — although it was very kind of you to ask.
4. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Makeup, body shaming, bodybuilding, dieting, plastic surgery, fashion awards and pretty much every media image you come across would suggest otherwise. Maybe the phrase should be changed to: “Judge a book by its cover, but at least open it up and read the first page and see if it’s any good.” Not as catchy as the original, but more practical and honest.
5. “The third time is the charm.”
True. Never, ever try something four times. That would be crazy. Always give up if it doesn’t work after the third time. Any inventor worth a damn would tell you the same.
6. “Because it’s the right thing to do.”
Politicians and CEO-types love this phrase. They use it all the time. Considering our government’s dismal approval rating, coupled with the necessity for lying in the political field, the right thing to do here would be to stop using this cliché as a tool to cover up the fact that our leaders are blowing smoke up our collective keesters.
7. “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.”
Yes there is. For example: “If I collect all of my boogers for 10 years and build a booger mountain taller than Mount Everest and then climb that mountain, will I be able to kiss the sun?” Voilà, a stupid question.
8. “To cut a long story short.”
When someone tells you this, they’re either about to tell you a really long story or they’re finishing up a story that has already proven to be excruciatingly long. A more honest phrase would be: “To fail to cut a long story short …”
9. “To be honest …”
I’m about to insult the hell out of you, and I’m preparing your for the blow, or I lie 99.999 percent of the time, but for this fraction of a second, I’m going to tell you the truth. Regardless of which choice you go with, good news rarely follows this cliché. “To be honest, I never loved you. And if we’re really being honest here, yes, I embezzled the money, murdered your sister and ate the last piece of cake in the refrigerator. Sorry about the cake.”
10. “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Of course two wrongs don’t make a right. As we’ve already learned, the third time is the charm, which obviously means three wrongs do make a right — not two. It’s simple math. I think Newton or Einstein first came up with the “three wrongs make a right” theory. As long as you stick with an odd number of wrongs, you should be just fine.