I checked a book out of the library a few weeks ago called Woe Is I. The subtitle: A Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English. It's a grammar geek book, basically, explaining common errors people make in spelling, usage, and all.
I just finished a chapter on clichés. The author fills nine pages with words and phrases she thinks are over-used to the point of being annoying and meaningless.
Tip of the iceberg.
More than meets the eye.
Play it by ear.
I nodded sagely as I read. Mm-hmm. Overused. Annoying.
Going nowhere fast.
Last but not least.
Easier said than done.
Draw a blank.
Then it hit me: I bet I've used every one of these at some point in this blog. I'm quite sure I've used every one of them in conversation. Probably 80-90% of the items on her list are part of my active vocabulary, the first words that come to mind when I need to express the idea.
Should I be disappointed in myself? Is my thinking really so lazy? Is my language really so unoriginal?
I blame Disney and Nickelodeon. Years of having the formulaic shows running on a loop in my house have numbed my brain and stinted my intellectual growth. Lord knows what they've done to my children.
Time to find more adult television entertainment for my daughters. (Well, not adult – you know – just not stupid, made-for-children.) Time to hunt down the documentaries and history channel specials. Maybe we need to constitute a reading hour for everyone every day.
Ohhhh, yeah. Hubby will LOVE that.