No hackneyed phrases allowed

Olivia Fowler
Olivia Fowler

Olivia Fowler

On The Way

By Olivia Fowler

Our English teacher in high school, Lil Buie, was the most inspiring teacher I ever had.

Our school was small, with only 200 students enrolled in 12 grades. Mrs. Buie taught English, World History and American History. We learned to love these subjects because she did. She taught us how to express ourselves on paper.

No student fortunate enough to be taught by Mrs. Buie emerged from her classroom without a better understanding and command of the English language. She hated the hackneyed phrases we littered our creative writing assignments with and was always coming up with ways to challenge us to think on our own and develop individual writing styles.

One of her assignments was to have each student speak on a subject of choice and have the rest of the class keep track of how many times the phrase, “like, you know” was used. We were amazed and amused by the results. When the results were in, we had to attempt to give the same speech without using the phrase. The first time the phrase was used, we had to sit down.

No one in the entire class made it through two minutes.

Next, we had to write a short paper without using any of the verbal crutches we depended on. If we fell back on clichés we had to find another way to express the thought. It stretched our brains and really taught us something useful.

Sadly, we all hear or read the following phrases over and over from those who are supposed to know better.

See if you can identify the following common clichés. They stick out like a sore thumb.

First and foremost, to make a long story short by getting straight to the point, I must indulge in a little plain speaking. I have to thank each and every one of the American people for pitching in and doing the right thing.

Needless to say, we are almost speechless in the final analysis of the many sacrifices made here today. But, at the end of the day, though few and far between, random acts of kindness shine the light on the best of mankind.

Although this gathering was hastily convened, this tightly-knit community became part and parcel of those among us who search for the greater good. Ultimately, when you boil it down to brass tacks, we recognize and pity those who come to an ignominious end. We can safely say we are all sadder but wiser.

I rest my case.