I mentioned last week in my blog on ‘Writing Magazine’ the phrase “the best thing since sliced bread” and referred to the fact that I knew I shouldn’t use clichés in writing. That got me thinking, what is the difference between a cliché and a proverb? We use knowingly, or unknowingly, Shakespeare’s sayings every day, e.g. “Dead as a door nail” (Henry VI).
I looked up the words cliché and proverbs. Here’s what it said:
Cliché (noun) platitude, banality, commonplace, hackneyed phrase, a trite stereotyped expression.
Proverb (noun) a short popular commonplace saying, that expresses truth or useful thought.
I suppose if one used the definition ‘commonplace’ to some of Shakespeare’s sayings they would be considered clichés, but I would never, never use the other words in the cliché definitions as applicable to The Bard.
One can see online ‘Shakespeare’s clichés’. They have to be kidding! (Whoops, I think I’ve…
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