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A cliché is defined as, ‘a phrase or an opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought’, by the Oxford dictionary. An example is ‘forewarned is forearmed’ meaning to be prepared so that you are able to cope with a future situation.

Clichés are an established feature of the English language. It is particularly common in spoken English language and in informal written contexts. Some are hundreds of years old; others became popular within a short time.

My article on the differences between a proverbs and idioms explains what idioms are with some examples. Meanwhile, what we should know about clichés is that they are idioms. Both clichés and idioms have figurative phrases with implied meanings rather than literal meanings. The difference between them is that an idiom is viewed in a positive sense whereas clichés are viewed in a negative sense. Clichés are known to be overused and boring. For example the phrase ‘last but not the least’ has been commonly used and it seems unavoidable by many of us.

There are many who claim to dislike clichés and regard them as somehow spoiling the language. Some dislike clichés due to most of them losing their freshness and originality. On the other hand, it would be almost impossible to rid our speech and writing entirely of clichés. This is because they add a bit of colour to the English language.

It is therefore necessary that English learners learn how to use them correctly. More clichés can found in Webster's Students' Companion.

Some of the most common clichés whose uses can be minimised are seen in the videos below:

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