Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Hyperbole

According to my dictionary, hyperbole (pronounced hyperbollee) is 'an exaggerated statement not meant to be taken literally'. I wish someone would tell the media (especially the local news) and marketeers that.

People are never a bit upset and mildly inconvenienced when a bus service changes or the lift is out of order, they're devastated, trapped and stranded. When there's a mistake on their gas bill they're not a bit surprised and then glad when it's sorted out, they're shocked, dismayed and horrified then hugely relieved.

Food manufacturers don't release a new flavour, instead it's an exciting new recipe or unique taste sensation. Products are never quite a good idea which might be useful, they're innovative and life changing.

TV programmes are never quite amusing, they're always hilarious and slide-splittingly funny. Presumably 'they' watch the director's cut, leaving me with the version which got slightly lost in translation ... either that or I'm just a complete and total misery. Yeah, could be that.

Here's a picture of a deadly poisonous fungi I risked life and limb to photograph for you. Or, without the hyperbole, here's a fungi which might not be good to eat and which was growing on a slope of wet grass, meaning that had I not been careful I could have slipped a bit as I walked up to it.

18 comments:

  1. Hi Patsy - I totally agree .. most funny programmes I can't see where the joke is ... and food - what's new ... they just up the prices, lower the content and sprinkle something on it - let's go back to wholesome food cooked fresh .. and your mushroom - we never know the dangers - was there a banana skin too nearby?! Cheers Hilary

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    1. Fortunately no banana skin, Hilary - and I dodged all the cow pats!

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  2. Yesterday I was on top of the world. It was my birthday. Today I am at death's door. I drunk a lake of wine last night in honour of myself and St Patrick. I quite like the hyperbole, they are a common feature of the Norfolk dialect, but a bit cliche- ed, if that's a word even!

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    1. Belated birthday wishes, Patrick. Does the date have anything to do with the name you were given? (I'm a March baby and sometimes get asked if there's a connection to St Patrick, but there isn't in my case.)

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  3. Very well said, Patsy. I particularly loathe the pop ups on Facebook or similar that announce 'You'll be AMAZED /SHOCKED at....' when the content is quite ordinary, even boring. Having said that I do use hyperbole myself. The bus had a million passengers on it, or the entire population if China was at Angkor Wat when I was there (well it did seem like it).
    I was taught that exaggerations were when the concept was possible but inflated but hyperbole was technically impossible but got the point across.

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    1. Those annoy me too, Lindsay. I'll decide for myself how amazing the silly Youtube clip is, thank you very much!

      Personally I never ever exaggerate anything - as I've said a million times before.

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  4. The things you do for us, Patsy! And had it been raining you could have been soaked to the skin, or you might simply have got a bit damp.

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    1. I'm glad you appreciate my efforts, Christine.

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  5. I'm so glad you didn't somersault and break your everlovin neck!

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  6. Ah. Just my kind of post. I quite agree, Patsy. Another word which is wildly overused is 'stunning'. Estate agents just love that word. Stunning kitchen, stunning views, stunning location. Has anyone ever been stunned by a kitchen? And if you're looking for a horse to buy, they are all stunning, even the ugly ones.

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    1. A kitchen or horse which did actually stun anyone who got close enough for a look doesn't sound like a good buy to me, Frances.

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    2. Ps I'm sure you know this already, but the opposite of hyperbole is litotes. Another good word.

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    3. I didn't know, Frances! It's going on my list - thanks!

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  7. I caught sight of the word CRISIS on the front page of a tabloid today. Oh no, what's happened, I wondered. An earthquake or hurricane? Another terrorist attack? A new, deadly disease? No, it was just something about someone leaving a pop group ...
    Mind you, I was guilty of hyperbole when I did some copywriting for business websites. How else can you make a plumbing company sound exciting?

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    1. I know you were just having to do as the client wanted, but why should a plumbing company sound exciting? Exciting plumbing sounds a very bad idea to me. It's the same with insurance and washing powder and toothpaste. We don't need to be thrilled and stunned - we just want a reliable product.

      I'm ranting again, aren't I?

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  8. Spot on. And the trouble with hyperbole is the inevitable description inflation. How do you top a superlative?

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    1. You're right. If customers are stunned and amazed by the magnificence of the competitor's loaf of bread then the one we're selling has to put them into a coma for a week and leave them permanently disorientated.

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Thanks so much for commenting!