“Truthful Hyperbole”

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

*My history teacher is so old, she lived through the Civil War.

*My dog is so ugly, he saw himself in a mirror and ran away.

*My teacher is so mean, she eats first graders for lunch.

*My sister uses so much makeup, she needs a paintbrush to put it on with (see here)

Yes, these statements are hyperbole. They are exaggerations. Stand-up comics use hyperbole often in the one-liners they deliver and the shaggy dog stories they tell. It is also a rhetorical move seeking to make a point through overstating. Awareness of exaggerated statements has risen dramatically in the 2016 campaign for the U.S. presidency. Republican nominee Donald Trump acknowledges that he exaggerates to make a point. In Art of the Deal (1987), Trump said:

I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those…

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