English Trite Expressions

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Wednesday 25th of January 2006 04:53:43 PM

Trite expressions, sometimes called clichés, are expressions which have grown stale through too frequent use. Originally fresh and effective, they have been used so much that they have lost any freshness and originality they once had. No doubt, the first time someone described the sensation of stage frights as butterflies in my stomach, the description was strikingly apt, but overuse has made it too commonplace to be arresting. Similarly, such basically effective comparisons as blanket of snow, busy as a bee, on the fence, while still generally used in conversation, are so well known that they make writing dull rather than bright. Clichés suggest laziness and a lack of originality in the writer who uses them. They come to mind so easily when you are writing that unless you consciously guard against them, they will seriously weaken your style. The simple, straightforward statement of an idea is preferable to the use of a worn-out expression.

bury the hatchet - stop fighting, make peace
at loose ends - disorganized
on speaking terms - friendly
fair and square - completely honest
at death's door - near death

Some clichés are comparisons (busy as a bee), while others are simply commonplace ways of stating an idea (fair and square).

Trite expressions:

a good time was had by all
accidents will happen
add insult to injury
after all is said and done
at death's door
at loose ends
beat a hasty retreat
beautiful but dumb
beyond the shadow of a doubt
bite off more than you can chew
blushing bride
break the ice
brown as a berry
budding genius
bury the hatchet
busy as a bee
by the sweat of one's brow
calm before the storm
clear as crystal
depths of despair
diamond in the rough
discreet silence
doomed to disappointment
each and every
easier said than done
eternal triangle
fair sex
Father Time
few and far between
fond parents
gala occasion
green with envy
hale and hearty
in no uncertain terms
in this day and age
irony of fate
last but not least
long arm of the law
make a long story short
none the worse for wear
on speaking terms
on the fence
out of the frying pan into the fire
point with pride
quick as a flash
ripe old age
sadder but wiser
silence reigned
straight and narrow path
supreme sacrifice
to the bitter end
trials and tribulations
view with alarm
viselike grip
weaker sex
white as a sheet
word to the wise

Thursday 26th of January 2006 12:04:23 AM
nice, i've never noticed how many similarities there are between italian idioms and English ones=O)

bury the hatchet = seppellire l'ascia di guerra

just as an example =o)

thanks a lot for this list Ana!

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