A Story by Mike Keenan




Hi William,

You guys looked like you were having fun in the pool! Nice back-somersault dives!

Your mom suggested that we bring the English classes to and end today - Friday (end of month) so I hope that’s okay with you.



We looked at hyperbole, the use of over-exaggeration to emphasize a point or to be humorous.

A great example of hyperbole in literature comes from Paul Bunyan's opening remarks in the American folktale of Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. It comically gets across just how cold it was:

"Well now, one winter it was so cold that all the geese flew backward and all the fish moved south and even the snow turned blue. Late at night, it got so frigid that all spoken words froze solid afore they could be heard. People had to wait until sunup to find out what folks were talking about the night before."

That’s COLD. Funny eh! Can you use hyperbole in a sentence to exaggerate heat?

Nice. That’s hot!

Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most celebrated authors of the 20th century, used hyperbole to inject some sharp humor into a memorable description in Living to Tell the Tale:

"At that time Bogota was a remote, lugubrious city where an insomniac rain had been falling since the beginning of the 16th century."

Do you know what lugubrious and insomniac mean? Look them up. What do they mean?


“insomniac rain” - rain that can’t sleep. Neat eh!

An example of how hyperbole emphasizes feelings and emotions can be found in the poem "As I Walked Out One Evening" by W.H. Auden:

"I'll love you, dear,

I'll love you till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,
I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky."


I think he loves her a lot! Do you agree?


Here is hyperbole to express size

  • She's as thin as a toothpick.
  • Her brain is the size of a pea.
  • He was skinny enough to jump through a keyhole.


Write one more size example for me in a sentence. Have fun. Exaggerate. Invent.




Here is hyperbole to express desperation

  • If I can't get a smartphone, I will die.
  • My mom is going to kill me.
  • These dress shoes are killing me.


Give me one more desperation example in a sentence please. Invent.

Here is Hyperbole to Exaggerate Expense

  • Our new house cost a bazillion dollars.
  • We don't have two cents to rub together.



Give me one more expense example please. Invent.



Here is hyperbole to exaggerate time

  • Grandpa is older than dirt.
  • Old Mr. Smith has been teaching here since the Stone Age.
  • My dad is always working.
  • I've told you a million times not to do that.



Give me one more example please.


Here's hyperbole in ads


  • AT&T - Reach out and touch someone.
  • Citgo - There at every turn.
  • Citi - Citi never sleeps.
  • Disneyland - The happiest place on earth.
  • Esso - Put a tiger in your tank.
  • Energizer - Keeps going and going and going.



Give me one more example please. Invent. And the product/service can be real or imaginary.


Ex.  “Kool Aid” (real) or “Mike’s Marvelous Milkshakes” (made up)

Mike’s Marvelous Milkshakes - Mike’s milk is tops. It spins your world


Good one. Maybe a future job for you. The people who invent and write these ads make a ton of money. (Hyperbole)

© 2022 Mike Keenan

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Added on March 18, 2022
Last Updated on March 18, 2022


Mike Keenan
Mike Keenan

Kanata, Ontario, Canada

A retired English/Phys-Ed-teacher-Librarian, I write primarily poetry, humour and travel, published in many newspapers & magazines. For poetry feedback, please read my 'Poetry Evaluations' and 'Poetry.. more..