Let's examine two highly-used phrases that drive me crazy. When I am reading a piece of literature and the author tells me that a character "made their way" somewhere, I want to clear my throat and ask, "Made their what?" A person may carve a path, scale a cliff, paddle a kayak, sneak in the shadows, scramble to their feet, and scuff their shoes on the gravel road. They may squish in the mud, crunch in the fallen leaves, and tread on cranky Ms. Pendleton's posies. How does a person "make" a "way"? The phrase is worn out and starved of creativity. I want to see the character I am reading about and I have never seen someone "make their way".
The second phrase is used in conversation: "I just wanted to touch bases". I think I heard that phrase five times last week alone. Can we please retire that old cliche? While that saying may have been clever and tasty when it was first coined, its age and overuse has stolen its flavor--kind of like a baseball game hot dog. Despite the number of times I hear people use this cliche, the next time I say I want to "touch bases" with a friend, we'd better be running around a baseball diamond together.