What is hyperbole?

Hyperbole is the deliberate use of exaggeration to create feeling (sympathy, anger, humour) or an impression.

Note on hyperbole

You should be careful with using hyperbole – a little can add variety, but don’t make it too crazy or use it too often. You should also choose when to use it – serious writing doesn’t generally use hyperbole.

Simple examples of hyperbole

He has tons of money
(he is rich)

Her brain is the size of a pea
(she is stupid)

I’m so hungry I could eat a horse
(I’m very hungry)

If I am seen with her, I will die of embarrassment
(I would be embarrassed if people see me with her)

It’s going to take me a million years
(it’s going to take a really long time)

I’m freezing
(I’m really cold)

This room is boiling
(This room is really hot)

I’m starving
(I’m really hungry)

I’ve been dying of the flu all week
(I’ve been really sick with the flu all week)

Further common examples of hyperbole

I have a million things to do
I will be there in two seconds
The bus is taking forever
I’ve told you a thousand times
I’m so tired I could sleep for a week
I have a mountain of paperwork to do
She is so thin that when she turns sideways she disappears
You’re always doing that
She has been working here since the beginning of time
She is so beautiful she could stop traffic