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Cliches: Over 1500 Phrases Explored and Explained Paperback – Jan 15 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (Jan. 15 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312198442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312198442
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,229,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

2.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
I don't want to go overboard (p. 78), but I must disagree with my previous reviewers here and say that this book is a worthwhile addition to any writers' shelf. I could jump on the bandwagon (p. 100) and criticize it for a lack of an index or the absence of overly detailed etymological information, but take it from me (p. 175), it does what it sets out to do fair and square (p. 57).
Notwithstanding what a previous reviewer wrote, the book certainly does shed light on (p. 167) the basic etymological origins of the most common (and many not-so-common) clichés. Call me old-fashioned (p. 25) but I think the most important aspect of this book is that it keeps first things first (p. 63) by defining clichés in a straight forward (p. 173) and dispassionate way -- something that prevents the text from eroding into the kind of mess that develops when an author tries to both inform and entertain.
At first glance (p. 7), I thought that an index was conspicuous in its absence (p. 33). But all things considered (p. 5), I wondered how effective an index in a case like this would be since it would necessarily have to be organized by key words in a phrase (even if there are several versions of it), the meaning of the phrase, and the meaning of any mistaken interpretations. In the final analysis (p. 94), I think that that the book is fine the way it is ... certainly nothing to be sneezed at (p. 135).
Last but not least (p. 100), while it's not for me to say (p. 96) whether owning this book will help you be a better writer or understand the written word better, I will say that if you glance through its pages and fail to learn something to your advantage (p. 112) I will eat my hat (p.50). I will summarize in order to be perfectly clear (p. 17): I am not saying this is the greatest thing since sliced bread (p. 79), but it is certainly quite good.
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By Serene Night on June 26 2003
Format: Paperback
I recently had the opportunity to examine this book in depth, and I admit this book was rather disappointing. This book only DEFINES phrases such as: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder," but NEVER explains the ORIGINS of each phrase. Since most everyone knows the definition of phrases such as "Just what the doctor ordered" defining it is seems almost pointless. Want to look up a cliche about being sick(for instance)? Think again, each 'cliche' is listed ONLY alphabetically and can not easily cross-referenced by subject matter giving it ZERO practical application to the modern writer or researcher.
For those seeking deeper understanding of cliches, you'd best look elsewhere. This was a superficial effort at best.
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Format: Paperback
Any etymological information is scanty or assumed. This was a waste of my time, a waste of my money and a waste of my shelf space. After reading the belabored introduction and several pages of exemplary cliches, I couldn't pick the book up.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
superficial, lacking scholarship, tedious and arbitrary April 7 1999
By MPetal2000@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Any etymological information is scanty or assumed. This was a waste of my time, a waste of my money and a waste of my shelf space. After reading the belabored introduction and several pages of exemplary cliches, I couldn't pick the book up.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
One in a million (p. 138)! Jan. 23 2004
By Eric J. Lyman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I don't want to go overboard (p. 78), but I must disagree with my previous reviewers here and say that this book is a worthwhile addition to any writers' shelf. I could jump on the bandwagon (p. 100) and criticize it for a lack of an index or the absence of overly detailed etymological information, but take it from me (p. 175), it does what it sets out to do fair and square (p. 57).
Notwithstanding what a previous reviewer wrote, the book certainly does shed light on (p. 167) the basic etymological origins of the most common (and many not-so-common) clichés. Call me old-fashioned (p. 25) but I think the most important aspect of this book is that it keeps first things first (p. 63) by defining clichés in a straight forward (p. 173) and dispassionate way -- something that prevents the text from eroding into the kind of mess that develops when an author tries to both inform and entertain.
At first glance (p. 7), I thought that an index was conspicuous in its absence (p. 33). But all things considered (p. 5), I wondered how effective an index in a case like this would be since it would necessarily have to be organized by key words in a phrase (even if there are several versions of it), the meaning of the phrase, and the meaning of any mistaken interpretations. In the final analysis (p. 94), I think that that the book is fine the way it is ... certainly nothing to be sneezed at (p. 135).
Last but not least (p. 100), while it's not for me to say (p. 96) whether owning this book will help you be a better writer or understand the written word better, I will say that if you glance through its pages and fail to learn something to your advantage (p. 112) I will eat my hat (p.50). I will summarize in order to be perfectly clear (p. 17): I am not saying this is the greatest thing since sliced bread (p. 79), but it is certainly quite good.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Disappointing... June 26 2003
By Serene Night - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I recently had the opportunity to examine this book in depth, and I admit this book was rather disappointing. This book only DEFINES phrases such as: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder," but NEVER explains the ORIGINS of each phrase. Since most everyone knows the definition of phrases such as "Just what the doctor ordered" defining it is seems almost pointless. Want to look up a cliche about being sick(for instance)? Think again, each 'cliche' is listed ONLY alphabetically and can not easily cross-referenced by subject matter giving it ZERO practical application to the modern writer or researcher.
For those seeking deeper understanding of cliches, you'd best look elsewhere. This was a superficial effort at best.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Excellent for advanced ESL Jan. 14 2010
By James D. Cook - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I just wanted to let everyone know that the "cliches" are really all of the standard american idioms, which English second-language learners need, along with enough background and explanation to help them achieve complete understanding. It is the perfect gift and well-written idioms textbook for an ambitious learner. I am a volunteer tutor and my student is Korean, and he has devoured this book to discover the secrets behind all of those clever expressions we hear on the Sunday TV shows, and many we use in cultured banter.
How Many Cliches Can You Come Up With June 29 2014
By AlanWarner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sometimes you just want to read a book and smile well this is the book for you, I was pleased to see some of the clichés in this book that I have used in my various other reviews, how many of these clichés have you ever used in a conversation or your writings, on page 196 I did not know that we'll see and we'll let you know are clichés how many times have you heard those two clichés during a job interview.

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