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Hyperbole: The best figure of speech ever

Hyperbole: The best figure of speech ever

Not to be a drama queen, but hyperbole might just be the best figure of speech there is. Ever.

Have you ever been so hungry you could eat a horse? Or carried a schoolbag so heavy it might break the floor? With a touch of drama and whimsy, hyperbole can do wonders for your writing.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what exactly is hyperbole and how you can use it to keep readers glued to the page.

And yes, it’s pronounced hai-puh-buh-lee. Not hai-puh-boh-lee.

What’s Hyperbole

So, what exactly is hyperbole?

Hyperbole is a figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect. It involves making extravagant and over-the-top statements that are not meant to be taken literally but are employed to emphasise a point or create a vivid and dramatic effect.

Examples of Hyperbole 

If you pay close attention, you can spot hyperboles everywhere. In day-to-day conversations, news articles, your favorite storybooks, and more. Here are a few examples:

In job interviews: A job applicant might tell the interviewer, ‘I'm the perfect candidate for this role; my skills are unmatched!’ While they are highlighting their qualifications, they are using hyperbole to make a strong impression and emphasize their confidence in their abilities.

In movie reviews: A film critic might describe a recently released blockbuster as ‘the cinematic event of the century’. Although it's a glowing review, the critic is likely using hyperbole to emphasise how much they enjoyed the movie and to capture the attention of potential viewers.

In travel brochures: A travel agency might describe a tropical island destination as paradise on Earth’. While this portrayal is meant to entice tourists by emphasising the island's beauty and allure, it is a hyperbolic expression used to evoke a sense of wonder and desire to visit the location.

How to use Hyperbole

The main goal of hyperbole is to amplify something, and to do so in a creative way. For example, instead of saying ‘I’m so cold’, you can say ‘I’m freezing to death’. The intention is not to trick your reader, but to emphasise a point through exaggeration.

To work hyperbole into your writing, consider the following:

#1 Decide who or what is the key element of this scene
Think of hyperbole like a spotlight or a magnifying glass. Whatever you point at, it becomes the biggest thing your readers see. So be sure to use hyperbole sparingly. Because when everything is big, nothing is.

#2 What are some traits/qualities that can better serve the story
What you choose to highlight about a character is important. So be sure to emphasise traits or qualities that add to the story.

For instance, if you like the readers to know your character has a bubbly personality, ‘he has a smile that lights up the world’ would make a lot more sense than ‘he is as tall as a tree’.

#3 Are there any easy comparisons you can make
Dramatic as hyperboles may be, they should be easy to understand. If you want to show how fast the bird is, you might turn to easy hyperbolic comparisons like ‘lightning’, ‘bullet’, or ‘sound’. Hyperboles should be fun, obvious, and click in your readers’ minds in a snap.

More common examples

Here are some common hyperbole you can use when it comes to Continuous writing and Narrative Comprehension:


  • I'm starving enough to eat a whole buffet.
  • My hunger could devour the entire kitchen.
  • I haven't eaten in ages; I'm practically a human vacuum cleaner.
  • My stomach is a never-ending pit of hunger.
  • I could eat my weight in food right now.
  • I'm so hungry, I might start nibbling on the furniture.
  • My appetite knows no bounds.
  • I'm as hungry as a wolf on a hunt.
  • My belly is an empty chasm of despair.
  • My hunger could challenge a black hole's appetite.


  • I could sleep for a week straight.
  • My eyelids feel as heavy as lead bricks.
  • I'm so tired, I might doze off mid-sentence.
  • I could slumber through an earthquake.
  • My bed is calling to me like a siren's song.
  • I'm as drowsy as a hibernating bear.
  • I'm so exhausted that even a lullaby can't keep me awake.
  • I feel like I've been awake for centuries; I'm ancient.
  • I'm so sleepy, I might nod off just thinking about sleep.


  • He's been around since the dawn of time.
  • She's older than the hills and twice as wise.
  • His memories stretch back to the Stone Age.
  • He's as ancient as the pyramids.
  • She's seen more generations than a history book.
  • His stories date back to the era of legends.
  • She's been here since the world was in black and white.
  • He's so old, he remembers when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
  • She's as timeless as the stories she tells.


  • He could lift a mountain if he wanted.
  • Her muscles could rival a superhero's.
  • He's as powerful as a locomotive.
  • She could bench-press a small car with ease.
  • He's so strong, even gravity bows to his will.
  • Her strength is beyond human comprehension.
  • He could wrestle a grizzly bear and win.
  • She's as mighty as a mythic titan.
  • His power is a force of nature.
  • She's the embodiment of physical prowess.


  • He moves like lightning on a sprint.
  • She's as quick as a bolt of lightning.
  • He could outrun the wind itself.
  • She's so fast, you'll only see a blur.
  • He's as swift as a shooting star.
  • Her speed defies the laws of nature.
  • He's as rapid as a meteor in freefall.
  • She could win a race against the speed of sound.
  • His velocity is unrivaled, like a supersonic jet.
  • She's the flash of the human world.


  • He's the king of procrastination.
  • She's so idle, she could win a gold medal in it.
  • He's as slothful as a cat on a sunny day.
  • She could break records in the art of doing nothing.
  • He's so sluggish, snails would consider him a peer.
  • She's the reigning champion of inactivity.
  • He's as unmotivated as a sloth in winter.
  • She's the poster child for indolence.
  • He's the embodiment of inertia.
  • She's so lazy, even her shadow takes breaks.


  • He's a walking encyclopedia of knowledge.
  • She could outsmart a room full of geniuses.
  • His intellect could power a supercomputer.
  • She's as sharp as a razor blade.
  • He's so brilliant, it's borderline intimidating.
  • Her intelligence could solve the world's toughest puzzles.
  • He's a genius in the truest sense of the word.
  • She's the Einstein of our generation.
  • His brainpower is a force to be reckoned with.
  • She's the embodiment of intellect and wisdom.


  • Her wardrobe is a vibrant explosion of colors.
  • His artwork is a riot of every shade imaginable.
  • The room was so colorful, it felt like stepping into a rainbow.
  • The garden was an explosion of vibrant hues.
  • Her personality is a whirlwind of vivid emotions.
  • The painting was so bright, it practically glowed.
  • The festival was a kaleidoscope of colors and sounds.
  • The street market was a symphony of vivid merchandise.
  • The parade was a spectacle of dazzling costumes.
  • His graffiti art turned the dull wall into a living canvas.


  • That sandwich is bigger than my head.
  • His house is so massive; it has its own zip code.
  • Her smile is as wide as the Grand Canyon.
  • The crowd was as vast as the ocean.
  • The mountain was so huge; it scraped the sky.
  • The elephant was a behemoth of an animal.
  • The burger was larger than life itself.
  • The skyscraper was a towering giant in the city.
  • The car was as long as a football field.
  • The tree was so immense; it seemed to touch the heavens.


  • The library was so silent; you could hear a pin drop.
  • His voice was as soft as a whispering breeze.
  • The night was so hushed; it felt like the world was asleep.
  • The room was quieter than a meditation retreat.
  • The forest was as still as a painting.
  • Her footsteps were so discreet; it was like she floated.
  • The moment was so tranquil; it felt frozen in time.
  • The classroom was so noiseless; it was eerie.
  • The desert was a sea of silence.
  • His silence spoke louder than words ever could.

FAQs about Hyperbole

What is hyperbole?

Hyperbole is a figure of speech that involves intentional exaggeration or overstatement to emphasise a point, create emphasis, or make something more dramatic or humorous.

What is the purpose of using hyperbole in writing or speech?

The primary purpose of using hyperbole is to add emphasis, create vivid imagery, evoke strong emotions, or make a point more memorable. It's often used for rhetorical effect in literature, poetry, and everyday language.

How do you differentiate hyperbole from literal statements?

Hyperbole can be identified by its exaggerated and unrealistic nature. While literal statements are meant to be taken at face value, hyperbolic statements are intentionally stretched beyond reality for emphasis.

Are there common examples of hyperbole in everyday language?

Yes, hyperbole is prevalent in everyday language. Common examples include phrases like 'I'm so hungry I could eat a horse', 'He's as tall as a skyscraper', or 'I've told you a million times'. These expressions use hyperbole to convey intensity, but they are not meant to be taken literally.

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