At The End Of The Day, Don’t Say It
Wednesday - September 28, 2011
When did the phrase “at the end of the day” become ubiquitous? I hate it. It’s an idiotic idiom. Everyone, everyone says it. Everyone writes it. I challenge you to get through one 24-hour period without hearing it in an interview or seeing it in an article or a blog. You will fail. It’s like the cockroach of clichés it’s everywhere, and you can’t get rid of it. (And horrible but true, I think I may have slipped up and used it myself. Just once ... but still.)
Maybe we could blame Les Miserables. The third song of the hugely popular musical is ... At The End Of The Day. Of course, that’s not the first phrase or fad word to be abused, overused and finally rendered impotent by lazy wordsmiths. One of the relatively recent offenders is “jump the shark.” Huh?
Yes, I’m in full curmudgeon mode. Can’t help it. I’m haunted by all the ghosts of clichés past that simply won’t die. Remember “think outside the box?” Remember “talk to the hand?” Remember when we were “all on the same page” but as long as we were willing to “push the envelope” we’d “take it to the next level” and ensure a “win-win situation” for all? And gag me with a spoon if I hear about yet another person getting thrown under the bus.
I know, some of you may think I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. But believe me, if, as a writer, you’re at the end of your rope and you have to reach for a cliché in order to fill space on a page, it’s no laughing matter. It means that, sadly, you reached a fork in the road, zigged when you should have zagged, and proceeded past the point of no return. You got lazy, settled for the oldest trick in the book, and eventually your bad habits will give you just what you deserve: a swift kick in the pants. And believe me, that’s nothing to write home about. In fact, its clear as day that if you persist, your readers will see the light, move on to greener pastures and drop you like a hot potato for the next big thing.
If this is you, go back to the drawing board. It’s time to grab the bull by the horns. Get with the program.
Raise the bar, roll up your sleeves and turn over a new leaf.
Readers, what do you think? I know you have your pet peeves. I know certain words and phrase set your teeth on edge. I’d love to know what they are. I can’t be the only one who gets annoyed.
Get it off your chest. After all, at the end of the day, it’s better to let it all hang out.
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