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.
5 thoughts on “It’s the cliché, stupid”
haha! I’m waiting for ‘well oiled machine’ to go. I think I’ve been hearing 1-3 per Economist over the last month, and every time I wonder why oil gets all the attention.
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.
Is “…..spreading like wildfire” verboten by the Economist also?
I do hope it is.
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…
I was certain there were more than three, but I cannot find them via economist.com. The repititon of the phrase must have been mentally amplified.