Cliché Bingo

June 8, 2015 by Amy Groening


Today we’re tackling clichés in our writing. What’s that, you ask? A cliché is a common expression that has been so overused that its meaning has lost all impact.

In order to keep your writing fresh and interesting, it’s important to keep cliché phrases to a minimum. Yet, it can be easy to use them by accident; it’s pretty natural to use clichés in speech and they find their way into a lot of writing for the same reason.

How often do you use clichés in your writing? Try your manuscript against this handy little bingo card. Search a writing sample for the following phrases, and see what your cliché bingo score says about your writing!



0 Squares: Congratulations, you’ve successfully purged clichés from your writing!

1-4 Squares: You needn’t bend over backwards to fix all those clichés, but keep an eye on them!

5-7 Squares: You’re just a hop, skip, and jump away from too many clichés. It’s high time you start looking for some new phraseology.

1-3 rows: A word to the wise: you’re getting close to a cliché overload! Not to worry, though. Jump in with both feet and get those clichés cleaned up.

Blackout: Let’s call a spade a spade: these clichés are taking over your writing! But practice makes perfect: put your nose to the grindstone and you’ll be cliché free in no time.

How did you do? Share your results with us in our comments section. Do you have a favourite or most hated cliché? We’d love to hear that too!

Bonus game: There are twelve clichés hidden in this blog post. Test your cliché knowledge and see if you can catch them all. If they stick out like a sore thumb to you, you’re on the right track.

Need a little help identifying and eradicating the clichés in your writing? Contact us regarding our editing services.

About this Contributor

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Small_headshot_amy_groening

Amy Groening is a project manager at Word Alive Press. She is a passionate storyteller with experience in blogging, newspaper reportage, and creative writing. She holds an Honours degree in English Literature and is happy to be working in an industry where she can see other writers’ dreams come to life. She enjoys many creative pursuits, including sewing, sculpture and painting, and spends an embarrassingly large amount of time at home taking photos of her cat committing random acts of feline crime.

Patricia Anne Elford over 5 years ago
Great idea! Editors/ESL teachers could use the pattern to make other cards by adding other clichés which arise regularly. It's something akin to having a fever or playing golf. This is a time when a high score is not good. :)
Jen Jandavs-Hedlin over 5 years ago - WAP employee
We're thrilled that you enjoyed the bingo idea! If you do use it as an activity, we'd love to hear about it!