Hyperbole (high-per-bah-lee) is by far the best thing the ancient Greeks gave us (sorry philosophy, epic poetry, and thick, fat-free yogurt).
It works precisely because it draws attention to itself. An overwrought metaphor can kill an entire page. A too-literal analogy might drive a whole argument to the gutter. A subtle hyperbole? Get outta here, (oxy)moron! The more ridiculous the exaggeration (hyperbole is a descendant of the Greek word for excess), the more entertaining the effect.
Today, let’s talk about how to use these deliciously over-baked word pastries in your writing (wasn’t that the best overwrought metaphor, ever?). But first, some inspiration from the masters:
I was quaking from head to foot, and could have hung my hat on my eyes, they stuck out so far.
(Mark Twain, Old Times on the Mississippi)
At that time Bogota was a remote, lugubrious city where an insomniac rain had been falling…
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