It’s the cliché, stupid

Here at The Economist, we correspondents have just received an order from above:

… a formal ban on “It’s the XXXX, stupid” … I think the phrase has been overdone, especially in election stories.

Can we also try, wherever possible, to avoid using “top”, as in “top officials say” or “America’s top companies”: “leading” is much better.

This is great advice for everybody, not just us. It’s one of those constant updates to Orwell’s first rule of good writing.

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5 thoughts on “It’s the cliché, stupid

  1. Hmm. I searched and found three ‘well-oiled machines’. Certainly enough to cause suspicion… 🙂
    A bigger threat may be “through a glass darkly” and its derivatives.

  2. I must inquire. You’ve opened a can of worms…
    Others, please feel free to contribute your most odious examples of The Economist’s violations of its own no-cliche rule below…

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