||How To Reform a Cliche
Reforming produces such spectacular results that it is worth looking at how to do it in detail. Here's the procedure:
- Start with a concept word, a word
relevant to your point. Put that word as the first entry on a list of
related concept words. For example, start with "wit."
- Use a thesaurus and look up synonyms for the concept word
and put them on the list. Choose in particular synonyms that have
different rhymes. Among the synonyms for "wit" we find "quip" and
- Look up antonyms as well and put them on the list. You can
talk about one thing by talking about its opposite. Again, prefer words
with different rhymes.
- For each of the words on the list, look up its rhymes in a
rhyming dictionary. For "quip," we find "lip." For "jive," we find
- For each of those rhyming words, find as many well-known
phrases as you can that include it. For "lip," among others we find:
"There's many the slip twixt cup and lip." For "drive": "Don't drink
- Substitute the concept word into the phrase for the word it
rhymes with and make what other adjustments the phrase seems to call
- Select those that are best for your purpose. That's how we get, "There's many the slip twixt cup and quip.
Don't drink and jive."