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As one of the country’s premier newspapers, the Post must use every implement in the writer’s tool kit to tell its stories. No punctuation mark can go unused; no feature device can go unexplored; and pile on the metaphors!

Introducing a new feature rating the Post’s periodic attempt at belletristic grandeur:

Washington Post Literary Flourish: “The cacophony starts before the first light of dawn, like an agitated rooster.”

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The Verdict: Roosters need not be agitated to crow.

Washington Post Literary Flourish: “His grandfather Harvey J. Haynie had a big white horse, called Pat, and Ricky sometimes still sees the two of them in his dreams, out there in the fields, a man and his mount blending with the land like wedded partners in a slow dance.”

The Verdict: Add: “as the purple rays of an expired sun washed their coarse skin.”

Washington Post Literary Flourish: “Husband and wife stand at the back door to say goodbye to Haynie. They seem as connected as tree and shade.”

The Verdict: Focus groups found this one direct, elegant.

Washington Post Literary Flourish: “Her eyelashes curl like a fawn’s. She has milk-chocolate skin as smooth as blown glass.”

The Verdict: Leading qualities of glass: hard, transparent, brittle.

Washington Post Literary Flourish: “His pale blue eyes shimmer like glass stones set in a creamy canvas.”

The Verdict: Like a rhinestone cowboy