Hyperbole in Description Piques Interest As High As Pike’s Peak

by | Writing | 5 comments

image by isabellaquintana

image by isabellaquintana

Definition of Hyperbole

Combining my research: Figurative language technique with visual impact that deliberately uses an extreme, fanciful, humorous, or ridiculous exaggeration (possibly applies a simile or metaphor) that makes a point about a real circumstance.

Common Examples of Hyperbole

  • Grandma is as old as Methuselah.
  • I’m dying to go.
  • I’ve told you a million times I don’t like mushrooms.
  • That’s the biggest cake of all time.
  • The cleanup took forever.
  • I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.

Fresh and Humorous Hyperbole

image by pgbsimon

image by pgbsimon

“I’d bungled everything. The planet didn’t produce enough Grecian Formula to stop this church youth director from turning prematurely gray. If I begged, would the senior pastor assign me to an easier job? Maybe I could singlehandedly build the new Family Life Center.”

  1. “At my wits end” wouldn’t produce a mind picture. The hyperbole describing the youth director at risk of prematurely turning gray does.
  2. The second use of hyperbole in which he wishes he could exchange his position for the job of constructing the Family Life Center, provides images of the young man alone, riveting steel, laying bricks, and putting up drywall.
  3. Through hyperbole, the youth director shows and makes the point that his job is extremely stressful and difficult.

Spend Time to Develop Hyperbole

image by Unsplash

image by Unsplash

“Maybe it was time to visit the unemployment office. What would I say when asked for my qualifications? I could share that, behind my back, the senior churchwomen, affectionately called me the youth director from Mars. I’d heard the Granny Girls had considered Venus, but that planet was too close. They’d awarded me the Mars moniker after I forgot to power up Miss Lily’s windows before unleashing the teens to hose down her Lincoln Town Car at the annual car wash. If that qualification failed to beguile an unemployment rep, maybe the Saturday night lock-in I’d arranged in the gym would. Cleverly, I’d planned the night to redeem myself after my car wash debacle. I stationed adult volunteers at the doors from the basement to the attic fan. Then at four in the morning, the senior pastor called. The police had arrested three of our teens wading in the town’s fountain, singing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Who knew I’d need to enlist a hundred watchdogs to guard the windows. I counted my blessings, though. The Granny Girls hadn’t upped my home planet to Pluto.”

image by KERBSTONE

image by KERBSTONE

Examples of Hyperbole:

  • Time to visit the unemployment office.
  • Youth director from Mars.
  • Unleashing the teens
  • From the basement to the attic fan.
  • Enlist a hundred watchdogs.
  • Upped my home planet to Pluto.

Try adding hyperbole to give story description a fun facelift. Click to tweet.

How have you used hyperbole in your writing?

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American Christian Fiction Writers

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  1. Inspirations By Katheryn

    I love this. Yes, I’d forgotten about the hyperbole. I’m in the middle of my next book, so, with it fresh on my mind, might work it in. Thanks.

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      I’m with you, Katheryn. I want to see if I can fit in hyperbole into my edits from my publisher.

  2. Gail Johnson

    I loved this, Zoe! I was laughing out loud at the pictures in my head. Hyperbole works. You can’t be a true southerner without knowing how to speak hyperbole. Great post!

    • Zoe M. McCarthy

      Thanks, Gail. I live in the South. So maybe some of that southern hyperbole has rubbed off on me.

      • Gail Johnson

        Yep. I’m a southern girl, too! Georgia

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