Cover of Idioms (Fun with English)
I don’t want to beat around the bush—my blog is all about good ideas. And whether you found it by chance, or heard about it on the grapevine, I am glad you discovered it. Though you can take my insights with a grain of salt, it is a foregone conclusion that if you don’t read it you will have missed the boat.
OK. Here’s why the above paragraph sounds so strained. It is filled (chock full?) of expressions that make little literal sense. I am filled with a passion for good ideas. Like others with that fascination, I tend to pay careful attention to the words that are used to create the ideas. And actually, to words in general. But lately, I have been noticing the many expressions that we all use that make no sense whatsoever. I am sure that they probably once had logical reasons for having been created. But as time passed, though the words remained, the original meaning vanished in a cloud of irrelevance. For example;
- why is it that it is only a conclusion that is forgone?
- Why do you only rack your brain? Why not rack your heart, or liver?
- What does it mean that you heard it on the grapevine?
- Why do you take something with a grain of salt? Why not a grain of pepper, or some thyme or sage?
- Why is far and away better than close and near?
Yes, I know there are books and resources out there that do a wonderful job of explaining why we say what we say. And as interesting as that might be, it does sort of take the fun out of it. I prefer not to have readily available answers when the questions themselves are likely more enjoyable.
Whether you write emails, tweets, blogs, ads or fortune cookies, if you use words, I hope I have given you something to think about. It’s not just clichés that should be avoided. It’s any expression that you substitute for the actual ache of creating something new. If I haven’t convinced you, that would be the last straw!
Got the idea?