How to Write a Hyperbole
Now that you’ve seen some examples of hyperbole, it is probably clear that you have been using it already, as even small children often do, naturally! Using hyperbole is simple:
- Think about describing anything that you have some feeling about.
- Think about the quality of the thing that you want to exaggerate, such as its size, difficulty, beauty, or anything, really.
- Think of a creatively exaggerated way to describe that.
For example, let’s say you have a homework assignment and you want to emphasize to your friend how long it is.
“This homework assignment is very very long.”
This is boring and probably fails to make an impression on the listener.
“This homework assignment is going to take forever!”
With this hyperbole, you emphasize how long the assignment feels to you and probably make more of an impression on the listener. However, this isn’t a very creative hyperbole and there are always many other potential ways to exaggerate this situation. For example:
“This homework assignment is going to take longer than it took to build the Great Wall of China!”
This sentence is not only probably not true, but we don’t even know or care how long it actually took to build the Great Wall of China. Probably not “forever” but this sentence still conveys the feeling you want to convey very well, so it is an excellent hyperbole.
When to Use Hyperbole
So far, the examples of hyperbole have been conversational and humorous. We often use hyperbole in everyday speech, but it is also used in literature. It can make a statement more dramatic or amusing. Hyperbole is acceptable and common in creative non-fiction essays, stories, songs, and poetry. It is usually not appropriate in technical writing or research papers where you are expected to say exactly what you mean as clearly as possible and leave your feelings out of it.