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Exaggeration vs. Hyperbole: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Exaggeration is overstating something more than it actually is, often realistic; hyperbole is an extreme exaggeration used for emphasis or effect, usually not meant to be taken literally.
Exaggeration vs. Hyperbole

Key Differences

Exaggeration is a statement that represents something as better or worse than it really is. It can be used in everyday speech to emphasize a point. Hyperbole, a type of exaggeration, is an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, often used for comedic or dramatic effect.
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Dec 02, 2023
In exaggeration, the overstatement may still be within the realms of possibility, albeit stretched. Hyperbole goes beyond reality, often reaching absurd levels, to highlight a point or evoke strong feelings.
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Exaggeration is common in everyday language and informal writing, serving to intensify an expression. Hyperbole is a recognized rhetorical device in literature, poetry, and speeches, used to create a strong impression and evoke emotions.
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Exaggeration might manifest as saying, "I have a ton of homework." Hyperbole would be, "I have so much homework, I could build a house with it." The latter is clearly not meant to be taken literally and is more extreme.
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Exaggerations are often recognized and possibly believed as truth, depending on the context. Hyperboles are generally understood as not literal, serving more to convey the speaker's intense feelings or create a dramatic effect.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Overstatement of facts.
Extreme exaggeration for effect.
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Realism

Can be realistic, though overstated.
Typically unrealistic and not literal.
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Use in Language

Common in everyday speech.
Often used in literature and speeches.
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Purpose

To emphasize or intensify a statement.
To create strong impression or dramatic effect.
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Audience Interpretation

Sometimes believed as truth.
Generally recognized as not literal.
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Exaggeration and Hyperbole Definitions

Exaggeration

Exaggeration involves amplifying aspects of the truth.
He exaggerated the size of the fish he caught.
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Nov 25, 2023

Hyperbole

Hyperbole is a rhetorical device for exaggerated statements.
This bag weighs a ton is a hyperbolic statement.
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Exaggeration

Exaggeration is overstating something beyond its actual level.
He exaggerated his experience, claiming to have decades of expertise.
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Hyperbole

Hyperbole exaggerates reality for dramatic or humorous effect.
I have a billion things to do today is hyperbolic.
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Exaggeration

Exaggeration is making something seem larger, better, or worse than it is.
They exaggerated the importance of the event, calling it historic.
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Hyperbole

Hyperbole is an extreme exaggeration used for emphasis.
I'm so hungry I could eat a horse is a hyperbole.
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Exaggeration

Exaggeration is enhancing a fact beyond its normal bounds.
She exaggerated the difficulty of the task, saying it was impossible.
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Hyperbole

Hyperbole involves making overstatements to create effect.
He ran faster than the wind is a use of hyperbole.
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Exaggeration

To consider, represent, or cause to appear as larger, more important, or more extreme than is actually the case; overstate
Exaggerated his own role in the episode.
Exaggerated the size of the enemy force.
Exaggerated how difficult the project would be.
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Hyperbole

Hyperbole is used to make a point with deliberate overstatement.
I've told you a million times exemplifies hyperbole.
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Exaggeration

To make overstatements.
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Hyperbole

A figure of speech in which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect, as in I could sleep for a year or This book weighs a ton.
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Exaggeration

The act of heaping or piling up.
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Hyperbole

Deliberate or unintentional overstatement, particularly extreme overstatement.
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Exaggeration

The act of exaggerating; the act of doing or representing in an excessive manner; a going beyond the bounds of truth, reason, or justice; a hyperbolical representation; hyperbole; overstatement.
They say he's a millionnaire, but that's a massive exaggeration.
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Hyperbole

(countable) An instance or example of such overstatement.
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Exaggeration

A representation of things beyond natural life, in expression, beauty, power, vigor.
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Hyperbole

A hyperbola.
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Exaggeration

The act of heaping or piling up.
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Hyperbole

A figure of speech in which the expression is an evident exaggeration of the meaning intended to be conveyed, or by which things are represented as much greater or less, better or worse, than they really are; a statement exaggerated fancifully, through excitement, or for effect.
Our common forms of compliment are almost all of them extravagant hyperboles.
Somebody has said of the boldest figure in rhetoric, the hyperbole, that it lies without deceiving.
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Exaggeration

The act of exaggerating; the act of doing or representing in an excessive manner; a going beyond the bounds of truth reason, or justice; a hyperbolical representation; hyperbole; overstatement.
No need of an exaggeration of what they saw.
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Hyperbole

Extravagant exaggeration
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Exaggeration

A representation of things beyond natural life, in expression, beauty, power, vigor.
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Exaggeration

Extravagant exaggeration
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Exaggeration

The act of making something more noticeable than usual;
The dance involved a deliberate exaggeration of his awkwardness
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Exaggeration

Making to seem more important than it really is
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Exaggeration

Exaggeration is the act of making a statement more dramatic.
She exaggerated her emotions, claiming she'd never recover.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is hyperbole only used in literature?

While hyperbole is a literary device, it's also used in everyday language, often for humor or emphasis.
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What is hyperbole?

Hyperbole is an extreme form of exaggeration used for emphasis or dramatic effect, typically not meant to be taken literally.
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Can exaggeration be factual?

Exaggeration often starts with a fact, but then it's overstated beyond its actual truth.
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Can hyperbole be used in persuasive writing?

Yes, hyperboles can be effective in persuasive writing to make a strong point or evoke emotion.
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Can exaggeration be a part of everyday speech?

Yes, exaggeration is commonly used in everyday speech to emphasize or dramatize a point.
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Do all cultures use exaggeration?

Yes, to varying degrees, exaggeration is a common feature in languages and cultures worldwide.
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What is the role of hyperbole in humor?

Hyperbole can greatly enhance humor by creating absurd and exaggerated situations or descriptions.
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What is exaggeration?

Exaggeration is overstating something more than it actually is, often to emphasize a point.
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Why do authors use exaggeration?

Authors use exaggeration to emphasize certain points, add humor, or create a more dramatic or engaging narrative.
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How does exaggeration affect communication?

Exaggeration can emphasize a point, but it can also mislead or confuse if taken literally.
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How does hyperbole affect the reader’s understanding?

Hyperbole can clarify or intensify a writer's point, but it requires the reader to recognize the exaggeration.
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Are hyperboles always obvious?

Hyperboles are usually obvious and not meant to be taken literally, but they can sometimes be misunderstood.
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Is hyperbole considered a rhetorical device?

Yes, hyperbole is a rhetorical device used to convey emotions or create emphasis.
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Can hyperbole be used in visual arts?

Absolutely, hyperbole can be expressed visually through exaggerated expressions, sizes, or situations.
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Do exaggerations always involve overstatements?

Yes, by definition, exaggeration involves making an overstatement.
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Can exaggeration be unintentional?

Sometimes, especially when someone is not aware of the actual magnitude of what they're discussing.
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What is an example of hyperbole in everyday language?

Saying "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse" is a common hyperbolic expression.
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Can exaggeration be harmful?

If misunderstood or used in serious contexts, exaggeration can lead to misinformation or misinterpretation.
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Is it possible to exaggerate with gestures?

Yes, physical gestures can be exaggerated for emphasis or dramatic effect.
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How do exaggeration and hyperbole differ?

Exaggeration is a general overstatement of facts, while hyperbole is a more extreme, often unrealistic, form of exaggeration.
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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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