Exaggerating or presenting an idea out of context of its appearance is one very common mistake that happens with nearly every novice learner of English. An extremely basic interpretation of exaggeration is that it’s “lying” or “stretching the truth” till the point becomes convincing. There are simple reasons for this like-
1. The user wants to sound impressive but actually has a limited vocabulary
2. He wants more sympathy about the idea he is creating or he want to excite strong emotions about his idea
3. The actual point of the exaggeration is not convincing and embellishing the point with exaggerations will make it convincing.
4. Increased amounts and numbers will make the point more convincing.
Is it necessary to avoid exaggerations?
Striking a delicate balance in literature is necessary to keep the reader engaged. For example, in fiction writing, exaggerations are common to gather the reader’s attention and to provoke interest. But in technical writing, school presentations, office presentation and all common day to day office correspondence it becomes absolutely necessary to stick to the point. Avoid exaggerations at all costs.
Types of exaggerations and where you can use them-
1. Obvious exaggerations are situations when the listener is immediately aware of the impossibility of the statement. For example: That pearl was the size of my fist! This is childish statement that immediately notifies the reader or listener to the exaggeration. Most obvious exaggerations are commonly used in day to day speech and of course in fictional writing.
2. Absolute exaggerations take place when the writer or speaker uses words like “everybody” “all” or “always” These words reek desperation and are not to be used when you are in a working situation. For example: everybody is worried about the recession! Or all of us want to go home to avoid the rains! There are good chances that not every body is upset about the recession and not all workers want to go home!
3. Indirect exaggerations are used to sway the reader or listener towards the book or the speaker. For example: It’s almost 6 o’clock and I don’t think any restaurant will be open now. When you really look at this statement you immediately see two errors. First exaggeration is “It’s almost 6 o’clock” which means that is probably not yet 6, the reader or speaker is exaggerating the time to influence the other person. The second exaggeration is at “I don’t think any restaurant will be open now” which means that he hopes no restaurants will be open because he does not want to go out. Indirect exaggerations are mostly done verbally to avoid situations.
As a simple rule of thumb; just avoid exaggerations in your daily speech or written work communications. Keep your prose to as simple as possible. If you do want to use exaggeration to entertain readers then make sure that the opposing person knows it. Keeping your prose to as simple as possible will also ensure that you become a clear communicator with better verbal and written English skills.
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