Examples of Hyperbole -As a figure of speech
The English literature is composed of what we call figures of speech. These are what we make use of in our daily interactions. Some examples of the figure of speech are;
- Rhetorical questions and a whole lot of others.
But our main focus is centred solely on hyperbole; its meaning and examples, giving instances where it is applied in our daily life and pointing out some literary works where it is used.
- Hyperbole is a word via Latin, from the Greek word huperbole which is used to mean exaggeration, extravagance but literally means “throwing beyond”. It is also said to mean excess.
It is a figure of speech that uses extreme exaggeration to make a point known or to show emphasis on a statement. It can also be termed as an overstatement that exaggerates a particular condition for emphasis sake.
It is a literary technique where the writer or speaker intentionally uses exaggeration and overstatement for thorough emphasis and effect.
There is a difference between using a hyperbolic figure of speech and misleading your reader. Hyperbole is effective only when the audience or reader understands that you are employing such literary technique. The intended effect is not to mislead or confuse your reader rather, it is to emphasize the magnitude or gravity of something through exaggerated comparison.
In literary writing, hyperbole should be used in a natural way to go with the flow of the write-up. It can be employed in poetic writing to make the poem more powerful. It can be used in satire, to direct attention to the element of the story being made fun of. It can also be used in daily conversations, giving approach to humour, ridicule statements and in funny conversations.
Here are some of the examples of hyperbole and their use in an everyday statement in expressing feelings which aren’t realistic but buttresses a point.
- Mom makes it seem like I ate a dozen bowl of rice
- I am so famished I could eat a full cow
- I have a thousand and one things to do today
- His body is the size of a broomstick
- She ran faster than the speed of light upon hearing that her mom was back with goodies
- This is my brand new bike and it costs a fortune
- His brain is the size of a bean
The first statement projects emphasis on the quantity of food consumed by the child. We all know it’s ridiculous to say someone actually ate a dozen bowl of rice. Same can also be said for the next statement. Here the emphasis is made on the person’s state of hunger.
The third statement gives exaggeration on the things the person has to carry out; it emphasizes the numerous activities in store for that person. The next statement exaggerates the size of a human. You can absolutely say it is ridiculous for someone to look the size of a broomstick.
The fifth statement tells us the manner in which she ran. Though over-exaggerated that it was at the speed of light, which is obviously not possible but it portrays the excitement of the girl upon hearing there were goodies for her, hence the immediate rush to her mother.
These are some of the examples of hyperbolic techniques used in showing over-exaggeration just to nail a point in our daily statement.
Another example of hyperbole which can be seen in poetic writing is as follow;
- In the poem Africa My Africa by David Diop, the line “that black blood that irrigates the field” is a hyperbolic statement. It is said to mean the effort and the toil of the black Africans is what have kept the fields watered and the plants growing. Blood literarily cannot be used as a substitute for water for the plants.
- In the poem, The Iliad, written by Homer the line, “as loudly as nine or ten thousand men’’ is a hyperbolic statement. We cannot say just one man can make a noise that would sound loud like that of a thousand men.
Another example of hyperbole can be seen in some songs such as;
- TO THE MOON AND BACK by Savage Garden, the line “I would fly to the moon and back if you would be my baby” is a hyperbolic statement. So, it’s quite clear that the moon is not really habitable for a human and no one can actually go to the moon and back just to prove love to someone, like that is ridiculous. But then it is a hyperbole, an exaggeration of how much that person would do to gain the love of another.
- CALIFORNIA GURLS by Katy Perry, the line “sun-kissed skin so hot, we’ll melt your Popsicle”, is a hyperbolic statement. Imagine your skin so hot, enough to melt a Popsicle. We all know California girls are known for their sun-kissed skin but it definitely couldn’t melt popsicles, it’s just an exaggeration.
These examples of hyperbole are just but a few of them. In our everyday life, we employ the use of hyperbole. In music, poem, speech writing, story writing and a whole lot of others, the hyperbolic technique is being used to create a sense of humour, give life to a literary work or create a mind-blowing piece.