April 9, 2013

Handy Hyperbole = H: Blogging from A to Z

Welcome to Day H in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Continuing with my theme of literary devices, today I present hyperbole.

Figures of Speech - Hyperbole
Source
Hyperbole
(source)
A hyperbole is an extreme exaggeration used to make a point. It is like the opposite of “understatement.” It is from a Greek word meaning “excess.”

Hyperbole is an excellent tool for writers. Since we want to create vivid descriptions for readers, what better way than an extreme exaggeration to make a point?

Examples:

"There did not seem to be brains enough in the entire nursery, so to speak, to bait a fishhook with."
---Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court


"People moved slowly then. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County."
---Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird


As crafty as writers can be, I nominate parents as the best users of hyperbole. 

Think about it, what parent hasn't said, "I've told you a million times"? Or, a favorite one from prior generations: "I walked to school uphill, both ways." Another fun one, "I'll knock you from here till next Tuesday."

What's your favorite hyperbole? My daughter votes for, "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse."

Hankering for more H... check out other A to Z participants here.

7 comments:

Kate said...

We use hyperbole so much that I hardly even notice it's an exaggeration any more. One we often hear at my house "I'm starving". Really? We just ate like ten minutes ago!

Jo Michaels said...

I love hyperbole. I think it can make a story shine and give your reader greater intensity. :) I'd say more, but I have to pee like a racehorse...

WRITE ON! :)

Nick Wilford said...

My four-year-old, going on 14, has already started saying "You're ruining my life". Drama queen!

Clare said...

I love hyperbole. My favorite is "I'm so tired I could sleep for a week."

julieglover.com said...

This word comes up a lot in my family. Apparently, I am prone to use hyperbole ALL THE TIME. LOL.

My husband had to adjust to my non-literal way of speaking, since he's far more like Spock in how he looks at situations. But why not play it up? A little hyperbole can really punch a point.

Stephanie Allen said...

I abuse hyperbole. My favorite is the ever-popular "I'm starving."

Tia Bach said...

I LOVE that I'm not the only hyperbolite (he he) around.