Published: Nov. 1, 2014

Oxford University Press has published It's Been Said Before: A Guide to the Use and Abuse of Clichés, by Orin Hargraves, lexicographer, research assistant in Martha Palmer's lab, and lecturer in Linguistics and the PWR program. The book examines the use of clichés in a broad range of genres and uses corpus data to assess the frequency of various clichés from the mildest to the worst offenders. Hargraves makes a strong argument that the pejorative label cliché is as likely to arise from the misuse of common expressions as from their overuse, and he gives pertinent and clear advice for speakers and writers on how to avoid communicating ineffectively with clichés without abandoning them all together, since some clichés greatly facilitate the flow of discourse. Hargraves spoke to the Linguistics Circle last year about the book; he is happy—indeed, pleased as punch—to autograph copies for students, faculty and staff.

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