Writers sometimes use overstatement phrases with their works to add art and emotions. However, these exaggerations should not be taken literally as they only use it to add effects on facts and for the sake of emphasis. These kinds of phrases are called hyperbole. Hyperbole is a figure of speech which is the opposite of understatement and is derived from a Greek word which means “excess.” Sometimes, it is also used in literature most especially in poems to emphasize every line of it.
We actually use hyperbole in our daily lives most especially during our conversation with family members, friends or loved ones. For example, you are too hungry and decided to order two meals at a time. What you will usually say is, “I am so hungry I could eat a horse” but of course you do not really mean eating a horse. It is just a representation of how hungry you are. With that, you can tell that hyperbole is an unreal exaggeration to emphasize real situations. Below are examples of common hyperbole expression that we use in our daily communication.
This hyperbole is commonly used when we meet a friend after a very long time of not seeing her. Most of the time, even when you have not seen each other for only a month or year, it still feels like decades or centuries of not seeing each other, hence we use the hyperbole “I have not seen you in ages” to emphasize that it has been months or years that you have not seen your friend’s face.
Example statement: She decided to work outside of the country after graduation that is why I have not seen her in ages.
When we are bombarded with a lot of things to do but we have not yet finished anything, we usually say this hyperbole to exaggerate our workload. Of course, the things on your plate does not reach millions but because it is too many, you associate it with a large figure that even in real life, it is impossible to accomplish.
Example statement: It is just the opening of classes but it felt like I have a million things to do already.
The statement above is obviously an exaggeration of a feeling when you cannot buy a thing that you like. In reality, you will not really die just because you did not buy that dress. This hyperbole only highlights your emotion when you cannot get something you wanted dearly.
Example statement: It is fine if I cannot have a new phone but if I can’t buy that dress, I will die!
When talking about age, this is the most used hyperbole. It only means that your grandmother is very old, exaggerating that you compared her to the hills which are over millions of years in existence. You can also use this statement when teasing an old grandmother brother emphasizing that they are way older than you.
Example statement: I have not seen my grandma for two decades, she already looked older than the hills.
This hyperbole means that you ate a lot during dinner that you cannot even stand up because you are too full. You did not really ate tons of foods, it only represents your eating habit of getting too much of what you can only eat that’s why you say, “I ate a ton of food.”
Example statement: I have not eaten my breakfast and lunch that is why I ate a ton of food or dinner.
The statement never-ending is actually used when you feel like something is not going to end. Just like in the example hyperbole given, it means that whoever is giving a speech is taking a lot of time talking in front of an audience that they already got bored. It could also mean that the one giving the speech has been talking more than the expected hours he should consume. You can also use this hyperbole when your friend shares too much of her experiences that you wished it to end.
Example statement: It feels like the mayor’s speech was never-ending, he has been talking for hours already.
This is a common hyperbole used when it is too hot while you are sleeping. The sun usually represents hotness or scorching heat that’s why it feels like you are really sleeping beside the sun when the hot weather is not tolerable. Most of the time, this statement is used by people located in hot areas where the sun shines so brightly in the morning resulting to a very uncomfortable weather.
Example statement:It always feels like sleeping beside the sun during noon time.
This hyperbole is used when you see a very tall person that it almost feels like looking at a building. In reality, no one is really as tall as a building even the tallest person on Earth but you us this statement to emphasize that the person is super tall that you need to look up just to look at him.
Example statement: My brothers friend is a varsity in their school and he is a million times taller than before.
When someone is driving too fast that you can’t even see its shadow passing through you, this hyperbole is the best that you can use. It obviously refers to a speed way faster than a running cheetah. Can you even imagine a car running as fast as 1,000 miles per hour? That’s an absolute speed for sure.
Example statement: My father drives 1,000 miles per hour upon knowing that my mother was rushed in the hospital.
The statement above means that a student might have homework with all his subjects that’s why he exaggerated it with a ton of homework to do. Students usually use this hyperbole when they want to emphasize how bombarded they are with homework at school.
Example Statement: It is still the first week of class but I already had a ton of homework to do.
The example above is a common hyperbole used to emphasis the number of shoes a person has. Some people do have a closet full of shoes but to add emotion and exaggeration to the statement, it says a million pairs instead. You can also use this hyperbole when referring to the number of clothes a person has most especially when it is too many.
Example statement: We went to the house of my sister’s friend and we saw million pairs of shoes in her closet.
This statement means that a person does not have any money anymore that he cannot even lend you two cents. In real life, when you say that you only have cents left in your wallet, what you probably mean by that is you only have few money left to spend. However, in the hyperbole stated above, you can really sense that the person does not have any spare money.
Example statement: My classmate borrowed some money from me yesterday that is why I do not have two cents to spare right now.
The example above is actually the exaggeration for raining almost everyday, day or night or even more than that. As you know, we do have 30 days in our calendar including Saturdays and Sundays. You can uofthat hyperbole when you want to emphasize that there is no day that it was not raining.
Example statement: I cannot remember a day that I have not brought my umbrella, it seems to have been raining for 40 days and 40 nights.
You usually use the word death when you feel like dying because of a certain situation. Just like being left at home with nothing to eat and you start to get hungry, you will really feel like starving to death. However, this is just an exaggeration of being hungry and not really resulting to death. In reality, it takes years of not eating before you die of hunger.
Example statement: If mom will not go home before seven, I will starve to death.
Using hyperbole is actually fun because you get to play with the words and add emotions to your statements. Sometimes, exaggeration may be too much for a person to handle most especially when you are talking about serious topics. The use of hyperbole should also be put in place to make sure that the person you are talking to can understand you, because if not, there will definitely be misunderstanding between the two of you. Even in literary writings, you can use hyperbole to emphasize more emotions on the characters that you want to focus on. At the end of the day, you will not really notice but you are actually using a hyperbole to support your facts.