One of the greatest pleasures of working with research analysts is that they are so darn smart! Total experts in their respective fields, whether it be biotech, mining, oil & gas, or paper & forest, etc., and they’re also major brainiacs when it comes to financial analysis. Yet nobody’s perfect and financial analysts are not always the strongest writers in the world.

Engineers, geologists, oncologists, physicists, MBAs, CAs, CFAs, PhDs — generally wonderful people with excellent minds, but English grammar and usage might have escaped their full dedication while they were busy earning degrees! That’s why there are editors … like me! : )

One of the most difficult jobs I have when editing for these awesome professionals is trying to get them to minimize the use of clichés.

At the end of the day, on the back of, colour (when used as an equivalent of “detail” … ugh), well those are just a slim few examples that are oft repeated, not only across the department, but even several times in one short report.

And I get it. The core material is detailed, sometimes dry (quarterly earnings maintenance reports, for example), and it’s natural that an analyst might want to liven up their writing with a few “out of the ballpark” clichés. But don’t. Please.

Why? Because what is otherwise expert analysis becomes diluted by the use of these hackneyed phrases. What is presented as a professional document is rendered casual and chatty. Sure, there is a place for loose talk, the morning meeting for example. Use all the insidery, cliché-ridden language you want in conversation. It still makes me wince, but that’s my problem. Just don’t put it in print!

I stumbled across a cliché site and am posting  the link here for reference purposes. Not to provide a place to find a new cliché to use (!), but to help identify where clichés have been incorporated into a report and as a reminder to avoid them!

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