You're Exaggerating! Understanding Hyperbole

When you think of literature, it is difficult to not think of the various forms of figures of speech. Literary devices of this nature appear at a moment’s notice and can catch the reader or viewer by surprise. Figures of speech add another dimension to an author or director’s vision. Hyperbole is an example that involves exaggerating for the sake of making an evident impression on the audience. Children and adults alike love to exaggerate when a particular moment calls for it. Magnifying the ordinary develops the ability to perceive the extraordinary. Stretching one’s mind with the use of hyperbole is an excellent way to think outside of the box. When examining the etymology of hyperbole, this word comes from the true meaning of excess. 

Exaggerating for a Comedic Effect

Height is a common way to exhibit the use of hyperbole. The next time you see a tall individual that you know, tell them they are taller than the Burj Khalifa. The Burg Khalifa is the tallest building and stands at roughly two thousand seven hundred and seventeen feet tall. Your exceptionally tall friend is probably shorter than seven feet tall. This outlandish comparison may make them laugh because they understand they are taller than most, but certainly nowhere near the height of a building. While this form of hyperbole applies to shorter individuals too, it is ill-advised since that circumstance is a bit more sensitive. However, if they are open-minded, let them know they are smaller than a fairyfly. Once they look that up, they will realize it is the smallest insect known to man. 

Exaggerating Sounds

You may have experienced a sound so loud that it felt like every soldier to ever exist fired a round at the same time. As the rounds released from those barrels, thirteen thousand lightning bolts struck simultaneously and created an unexplainable amount of thunder. Directly after that, you may have heard a sound so quiet that only an ant colony could have heard it. Hyperbole is an amusing literary device to use. Depending on your imagination, you may be able to exaggerate far more than the previous examples. The next time you hear an incredibly loud sound, let those closest to you know that it resembled ten earthquakes happening at the same time. 

Exaggerating Smells

There are certain things in this world which smell amazing and others less so. You may have smelled something so amazing that it made you feel like you were levitating. Conversely, an awful smell could have given you a facial expression only reserved for Oscar the Grouch. Either way, these extreme experiences enhanced or detracted from your well-being. The use of hyperbole in these instances can take what is already exceptional and break through the glass ceiling.
Hyperbole is a literary device used by many of the most celebrated authors spanning any period. Exaggerations can certainly be misplaced depending on the seriousness of an event. However, they can also brighten one’s mood during sadder times. The next time something extraordinary happens in your life, try using hyperbole to take it to the next level.