What is Hyperbole?

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Hyperbole refers to figure of speech. It is derived from a Greek term that means ‘overcasting’, exaggerating an issue or over emphasizing something. It is a literal tool where specific words or phrases are overemphasized to generate a noticeable effect. We use hyperboles very often in our day to day lives. For example when we come across someone t we haven’t seen for a long time, we often say, ‘it’s been ages since I saw you.’ Even though we haven’t seen them for a hours, days or weeks, the use of the term ‘ages’ implies an exaggeration in the statement and emphasizes the wait. This makes hyperbole and unrealistic exaggeration that is meant to put emphasis on an existing situation. The main aim of using hyperboles is to generate an effect that is conspicuous and larger-than-life by conveying sentiments that are basically unrealistic. Hyperboles evoke robust emotions and generate impact on the listener. They can be used in any language and are common in writings like poetry.

Difference between Similes and Hyperboles

Just like metaphors and similes, hyperboles use figurative speech. They are commonly confused with these poetic tools particularly because they have two objects. However, their similarity ends there. Hyperboles do not involve comparing items like similes and metaphors do. Instead, they only generate and exaggerated effect regarding a given quality or action; for instance, ‘she is has the height of a giraffe’. In such a statement, it is difficult to miss out on the exaggeration element because everyone is aware of the height of a giraffe which cannot match that of a human being. Such expressions are common in our daily speech though they can’t be understood for their basic meaning. This is because the reason for using a hyperbole is to lay emphasis to a particular response, emotion or just to spice up the utterance so that it sounds impressive.

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