Does this adjective work for you?

A reader objected recently to a story that used “cliche” as an adjective. Here is the paragraph:

But a more accurate metaphor for the venture — and certainly less cliche than the old dream-come-true analogy — would be “bait.”

In fact, the dictionaries I consulted give “cliched” as an adjective but two also listed an adjective use of “cliche.” The reader suggested “less trite” as an alternative, and that seems fine and perhaps even preferable.

However, I don’t think it’s wrong to use “cliche” as an adjective. Words shift from one part of speech to another and back again all the time. But I do take the reader’s point that another adjective would serve just as well.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.