Harold Evans continues, "Could it not make out with another adjective for a decade or two, deepen our depression by linking with the catalog of deadly d words, disintegrating, dilapidated, decaying, or just rot and collapse? Better, is it beyond the wit of writers to get out from under the Latin infra and remind us that the abstractions covers a multitude of sins-- corroded water pipes, leaking dams, archaic airports, decrepit overhead power cables?"
Harold is pointing out a tired phrase, "crumbling infrastructure." Our language is spilling over with similar threadbare adjectives and nouns.
If your experience is similar to mine, it's really, really hard to avoid them. Especially when you're tired or working under the strain of an imminent deadline.
Of course, there are ways to cope. A good way to increase self-awareness of my own tired language is to read books like "Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters," by Harold Evans. One of the best parts of the book so far (in my opinion) is the content of the footnotes which link to helpful websites which offer writing exercises and articles on writing well.
There are also sites like Unsuck-it.com, which lists tired corporate idioms to avoid using in your business copy. Lisa Kellaway's Golden Flannel Awards measure the depth of corporate guff.
Grammarly also keeps me on my toes-- less stylistically and more, well, grammatically. I took a look at my stats recently and found my top mistake was missing a comma after an introductory clause. I've done it 124 times. Yikes!
What are some resources for avoiding tired language that you can recommend?