Hyperbole is the use of exaggeration or overstatement to make a point. In this post, we\u2019ll look at how to use it effectively in your writing.\r\nHyperbole in Everyday Language and Humor\r\nPeople use hyperbole a lot in everyday life. For instance, have you ever said any of the following?\r\n\r\n\tIt took forever.\r\n\tI\u2019m so full I could burst.\r\n\tI\u2019ve told you this a million times.\r\n\r\nThese are all hyperbole (i.e., exaggerations) rather than literal facts:\r\n\r\n\tSomething that "took forever" may have taken a long time, but it is unlikely to have lasted a literal eternity.\r\n\tWe say we are ready to "burst" if we are full, but this is not an actual medical hazard (unless you are Mr. Creosote).\r\n\tYou might have repeated yourself, but you probably haven\u2019t told someone the same thing that many times.\r\n\r\nThe key is that using hyperbole allows you to make a point more strongly. As a result, it is also common in humor. For example:\r\nThe house was so damp I had to wear flippers instead of slippers.\r\nHere, again, we're not being literal! Flippers are not a sensible solution to damp in a building. But by suggesting we require diving equipment to walk around the house, we can humorously emphasize the problem.\r\nExaggeration in Commercial Copy\r\nAnother place you will see hyperbole a lot is commercial copy, such as advertising. Examples include:\r\n\r\n\tThe happiest place on earth (Disneyland)\r\n\tRed Bull gives you wings! (Red Bull)\r\n\tProbably the best beer in the world (Carlsberg)\r\n\r\nLike the previous examples, these hyperbolic claims are not necessarily meant to be taken literally (especially the Red Bull one). But by exaggerating and using superlatives, the companies above can emphasize their brands.\r\nIt is important to be careful when using hyperbole in commercial copy, though! If you exaggerate the abilities or performance of a product or service too much, even if it is just for rhetorical effect, you could fall foul of regulations about advertising standards.\r\nHyperbole in Literature\r\nHyperbole is often used in fiction, poetry, and other creative writing. It works in the same way as the examples above, using exaggeration to heighten or emphasize an idea in a way that literal language cannot.\r\nHere\u2019s an example from Shakespeare\u2019s Romeo and Juliet:\r\nThe brightness of her cheek would shame those stars.\r\nJuliet\u2019s cheek is not literally brighter than a star, but the hyperbole helps to show the depth of Romeo\u2019s feelings. Similarly, in "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," Wordsworth describes a line of daffodils thusly:\r\nThey stretched in never-ending line\r\nAlong the margin of a bay:\r\nTen thousand saw I at a glance,\r\nTossing their heads in sprightly dance.\r\nA line of daffodils can't literally be "never-ending" \u2013 that\u2019s impossible \u2013 but the hyperbole helps to paint a vivid picture of the daffodils for the audience.\r\nWhen to Use It in Your Writing\r\nIn summary, hyperbole has two main uses in writing:\r\n\r\n\tTo emphasize a point.\r\n\tTo add humor to something.\r\n\r\nWhether it\u2019s appropriate to do either, though, depends on what you\u2019re writing. In a formal essay or report, you\u2019re better off sticking to the facts. This kind of writing usually aims for a neutral tone, so hyperbole and exaggeration would seem out of place.\r\nFor creative writing projects, commercial copy, or persuasive writing, however, it can help you to evoke an emotional response in your audience.