If there is anything worse than using a cliche, it’s trying to use a cliche and getting it wrong. You would think we wouldn’t get something wrong that’s been repeated so often! I like to call these instances Close but no cigarette.
One of the more common examples of this is saying It’s a difficult road to hoe instead of It’s a difficult row to hoe. They sound so much alike that the mistake shouldn’t be that surprising, but it’s also a good example of how we so mindlessly use a phrase. If we stopped to think about it even for a second, then we would never talk about how difficult it is to hoe a road.
Not only does it not make any sense, but we already have enough trouble with potholes in the roads—we don’t need people digging more with their farming tools.