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Korrespondenz auf Englisch - Bitte nichts Abgedroschenes!

Schlagwörter: Korrespondenz auf Englisch - Bitte nichts Abgedroschenes

Clichés are phrases and expressions that have become worn out from overuse. They are thus unimaginative and show inexperience and unoriginality in speech and writing.

In business, expressions such as “bend over backwards” and “keep your nose to the grindstone” have been used so often that they are considered clichés. Grammatically, they are correct. When they were first used, they probably provided a great insight into a particular situation. Now they are so stale they sound meaningless. Fixed expressions, phrases and idioms are invaluable tools for learning English. They help the learner express an idea in a natural sounding way. If you use the ones that are lesser known, you sound creative. If you use the ones that have become cliché, you sound unoriginal. There have been many polls to determine today’s “worst offender” clichés. These are the top 5 to avoid.

1. Think outside the box.
Use: Let’s try thinking outside the box!
Meaning: Creatively solving the issue or problem by looking at it objectively and forgetting about the usual constraints involved with the situation.

The irony with “think outside the box”, of course, is that by using such a cliché, a person shows unequivocally that he has a complete inability to think outside the box. When managers try to motivate their staff to think creatively by saying something as uncreative as “think outside the box”, they’re demonstrating their own inability to do so themselves. Your language does not need to be flowery to be impressive. Clear and direct is often better.

Alternatives: Perhaps we need to do a little lateral thinking ( Querdenken ). Let’s try to apply some creative thinking.

2. Win/win
Uses: It’s a win/win situation. We need to find a win/win situation.
Meaning: Both parties benefit from the deal or transaction. It’s a positive message, but the problem is it’s been used so many times that every deal is now described as a win/win situation, even when it’s not. Obviously it can’t be true every time, and it seems that the one who’s getting the better deal usually says it to make the other party feel better.

Alternatives: Let’s do a fair deal. Let’s find a solution that’s fair to everyone involved.

3. Failure is not an option
Use: Management is expecting us to deliver at the end of the month, and failure is not an option!
Meaning: Everything must be done to succeed, because failure is not acceptable. Made famous by the film “Apollo 13”, it has now entered the vocabulary of business. In the film it referred to a very serious situation: the rescue and safe return of a crew from a failed moon mission. In business it commonly refers to more mundane matters, where failure is not so serious. The reality of business: failure is always a possibility, and sometimes it’s inevitable.

Alternatives: We must strive for success. We must do everything possible to ensure the best possible outcome.

4. Grow or die
Use: We have to grow or die.
Meaning: If your business doesn’t grow, it will fail. This concept is fallacious. In a business, shareholders or investors want to increase profits year on year. The only way to do this sustainably is through growth. However, it is not possible to expand indefinitely, and the obsession with growth can cause companies to over-reach themselves and fail.

Alternative: What we need is a sustainable, long-term strategy.

5. Paradigm shift
Use: There has been a paradigm shift in our marketing strategy.
Meaning: A change in the basic underlying assumptions we once held. In reality, it refers to major changes in the dominant scientific theory of the age, e.g., the transition between the worldview of Newtonian physics and the worldview of Einstein’s Relativistic Physics. Rarely does something in business represent so great a change. Keep it simple.

Alternative: We’ve made a few changes to our marketing strategy.

Letter writing
Business letters are full of clichés that serve as templates whose blank spaces you can fill in. For example:
Dear ____,
With regard to _____,
I regret to inform you that ____.
Please find enclosed ____.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Regards,


Such a format is a great help when you are learning the language or need to write a quick, impersonal message. But with its overused, hackneyed expressions, such a letter is not a pleasure to write or receive. You can do a better job at maintaining customer relationships if you avoid the clichés and keep things personal: Instead of: We trust this is satisfactory, but should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us. Try this: I hope everything is OK. If you have any problems, please contact me directly. For instance, I look forward to hearing from you is a phrase which means that you are expecting a reply. But there is nothing wrong with Let’s talk about it briefly on Monday or any other original phrase that sounds much more natural and personal. Another cliché is Please find attached/enclosed the February invoice. You could say I have attached the February invoice instead, which sounds more informal and personal.

Schlagwörter: Korrespondenz auf Englisch - Bitte nichts Abgedroschenes

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