Snowclones are the new black.
But snowclones are not new. You’ve probably used one already today. Think of an expression where most of it is fixed, but there’s a spot where you can substitute any word:
If you reckon something’s important:
‘Man does not live by X alone.’
If people like something that you know is actually crap:
If someone’s not quite right:
‘A few Xes short of a Y.’
(nb. I’ve replaced the changeable part of the snowclone with some spare-looking letters I found at the end of the alphabet.)
Many good snowclones come from movies:
‘In space, noone can hear you X.’ Aliens.
‘That’s not an X, this is an X.’ Crocodile Dundee.
‘These are not the Xes you seek.’ Star Wars.
‘I love the smell of X in the morning.’ Apocalypse Now
‘The first rule of X is: You don’t talk about X.’ Fight Club
‘X and Y and Z. Oh my!’ The Wizard of Oz.
Spotting these has become a fun new game on the internet. (On the linguistics websites, anyway.) The name was coined by an American professor of economics in 2004. It comes from a slightly more complex example: ‘If Eskimos have n words for snow, X have n words for Y.’
Pimp my X. (ride, holiday home, pencil case)
He couldn’t X his way out of a paper bag. (fight, navigate, blog)
X! X like the wind! (run, drive, type, eat)
I’m too sexy for this X. (shirt, body, milan, song)
They are excellent for humour, because, umm, because… Look, it doesn’t matter why. X is bliss.
If you’ve got any you can think of, pop em down below! You could also add them to the database at snowclones.org. And remember: All your snowclones are belong to us.