Raw Thought

by Aaron Swartz

Cliche Finder

It’s not an essay, but I hope I can count it as a blog post. Here’s a new hack I made for my friend Quinn:

Cliche Finder

You should follow me on twitter here.

December 22, 2006


Many of those on the “cliches” list are more like dead metaphors or redundant phrases than actual cliche.

A cliche is a phrase that has lots its novelty. It still retains its meaning. Something like, “Stay the course” would be a cliche. It does mean what it says it means, but its done, finished and trite. “Surge” will likewise be so in a minute or two.

posted by talboito on December 22, 2006 #

I know, but I was looking for a single word to use.

posted by Aaron Swartz on December 22, 2006 #

Who’s counting your blog posts, dude?

I hope you’re writing those essays because you enjoy them. That’s why we’re reading.

posted by Ben Donley on December 22, 2006 #

“true facts” and “sworn affidavits” are also high on the list of the Department of Redundancy Department.


posted by William Loughborough on December 22, 2006 #

Very nice! This would actually be a very useful tool if integrated into a word processor like spell checking. It would help keep one’s writing more concise. Of course, when writing about business or politics (and especially when preparing a legal document), there should be the option to add redundancy, hehe.

As for calling it “clichés” I agree that that is the most all-embracing term to use. But for version 2.0 I’d suggest a more fine-grained approach, e.g. separating clichés, redundant statements, idioms, jargon, buzzwords etc. That would be interesting.

posted by Daniel Øhrgaard on December 22, 2006 #

Personally, I prefer it when blogs have high “signal to noise ratio” (there, another cliche). I think its better to write a few deep and meaningful blog posts as opposed to writing something everyday just because you feel pressured too. If ever you need convincing of this just check out the blog of this mini-genius:


The guys clearly brilliant! But I use RSS and everyday Seth Godin would put up a post, sometimes he shouldn’t have bothered. RSS is fabulous.

My 2 cents <- Cliche #2, or #3?

posted by Naz on December 22, 2006 #

I was looking for a single word to use.

I believe that the word you’re looking for is “pleonasm.”

posted by mike on December 26, 2006 #

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