This blog post will teach you how to pronounce hyperbole, and how to use it in your writing.
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What is hyperbole?
Hyperbole (/haɪˈpɜːrbəli, -pɔːr-/ hy-PUR-bə-lee, -por-) is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. In rhetoric, it is also sometimes known as auxesis (literally ‘growth’).
The history of hyperbole
Hyperbole, from a Greek word meaning “excess,” has been used in English since the 16th century. In literature, hyperbole is often used for comic or dramatic effect, as in Shakespeare’s “For never was a story of more woe / Than this of Juliet and her Romeo” from Romeo and Juliet. Hyperbole can add humor to a situation, as seen in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, when Huck tells a lie so big that “my mouth watered for the pie.” In advertising, hyperbole is often used to make a product seem more appealing, as in “You’ll love the new taste of Coca-Cola!”
While hyperbole is commonly associated with exaggeration, it can also be used to understate something, as in the phrase “I could sleep for days.” In this case, the speaker is not actually suggesting that they could sleep for an extended period of time, but rather that they are very tired.
Hyperbole is often confused with metaphor. Both are figures of speech that involve an exaggeration or distortion of realities for emphasis or rhetorical effect. The key difference between the two is that a metaphor makes an implicit comparison between two things (e.g., “She’s a tiger on the tennis court”), while a hyperbole deliberately exaggerates or magnifies one thing (e.g., “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!”).
How to pronounce hyperbole
Hyperbole (/haɪˈpɜːrbəli, -bəl/) is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. In rhetoric, it is also sometimes known as auxesis (literally, ‘growth’). In poetry and oratory, it emphasizes, evokes strong feelings, and creates strong impressions. As a figure of speech, hyperbole “(runs) the risk of being misunderstood for irony or sarcasm”
Examples of hyperbole
Hyperbole is a figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect. It is often used in writing for comic effect or in speeches to make a point. Hyperbole is the opposite of understatement.
Here are some examples of hyperbole:
I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.
She’s working her fingers to the bone.
I’m so tired I could sleep for a year.
He’s as strong as an ox.
She’s as big as a house.
Why we use hyperbole
We use hyperbole for a number of reasons. Often, we use it to make a point or to emphasize something. Other times, we use it for dramatic effect or to add humor to a situation.
Hyperbole can be found in all types of writing, from fiction to non-fiction, and in spoken language as well. In fact, you probably use hyperbole on a daily basis without even realizing it!