Monday, January 28, 2008

Forging a stage to plunge into battle

George Orwell, Politics and the English Language:

Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print.

Strunk and White, The Elements of Style, from Section V, An approach to style:

Rule 18: Use figures of speech sparingly. … When you use metaphor, do not mix it up. That is, don’t start by calling something a swordfish and end by calling it an hourglass.

From the Front page of Sunday’s New York Times:

Senator Barack Obama won a commanding victory over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday, forging a coalition of support among black and white voters in a contest that sets the stage for a state-by-state fight for the party’s presidential nomination.

In a bitter campaign here infused with discussions of race, Mr. Obama’s convincing victory puts him on equal footing with Mrs. Clinton —with two wins each in early-voting states — and gives him fresh momentum as the contest plunges into a nationwide battle over the next 10 days.

Metaphor, figure or speech and cliche tally:

“commanding victory”
“forging a coalition”
“sets the stage”
“equal footing”
“fresh momentum”
“plunges into battle”

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Blogger Lisa said...

You've shed quite a light on the issue. They should hang their heads in shame. I fear however, that it is a losing battle.

I will try to forge ahead, to swiftly banish cliches and hyperbole in my writing, with your help.

I will be in class tomorrow with bells on. You can count on me!

11:12 PM  

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