What Is a Cliche?

A cliche is an expression or sequence of events that has been used so many times that it no longer has any impact. Giving someone a heart-shaped box of chocolates and a dozen red roses is a cliche. A new cliche can develop with each generation, and sometimes a cliche can become novel again over time.

How Do You Identify a Cliche in Writing?

Literature is an imitative form, and over time subgenres have developed that rely on cliche to provide familiarity. Romance novels are rife with cliche examples as they often contain cliches about femininity and masculinity in relationships.

Another type of literary cliche that may be harder to recognize is the archetypal heroine or villain. Disney movies rely on this type of cliche often in their films. Cruella De Vil is a cliche villain, while Cinderella represents the cliche of a beautiful, innocent, and victimized heroine. Here are some more cliche examples:

Cliche Examples

Cliche Examples 1. “It was a dark and stormy night” is the cliche opening of a hard-boiled detective novel.

Cliche Examples 2. “They all lived happily ever after” is a cliche ending to several books and movie.

Cliche Examples 3. Hiring a bouncy castle for a kid’s birthday party is fun — but also a cliche.

Cliche Examples 4. The scene in a scary movie when the main character locks all the doors and breathes a sigh of relief, only to realize the monster is inside the house with her, is a tried and true cinematic cliche.

Cliche Examples 5. When the head cheerleader goes out with the captain of the football team, it is a real life cliche.

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