chén yán wù qù 陈言务去
The Necessity of Eliminating Banal Expression
This term has a two-fold meaning. Firstly, it refers to the need to rid an essay of banal wording. Secondly, it encourages authors to discard mediocre, derivative ideas when writing. It is a term raised by the Tang Dynasty man of letters Han Yu (768-824) about prose writing. Han emphasized that essays should be written in an innovative way. He guarded against stereotyped expression and argument and opposed any rigid convention. This view echoed the idea of “writing to convey Dao” put forward by Han Yu during the Classical Prose Movement he led, a movement which aimed to abandon rhythmical prose characterized by parallelism and ornateness in favor of ancient prose of the Han Dynasty.
How difficult and exhausting it is to try to eliminate all banal wording and arguments when a person writes what he feels! (Han Yu: A Letter of Response to Li Yi)
Du Fu’s poetry is no different from Han Yu’s prose in that both eliminate stereotyped wording. Huang Tingjian and Chen Shidao emulated Du Fu exactly on that point. (Liu Xizai: Overview of Literary Theories)