Practical English Usage
English grammar and vocabulary exercises
The figure of speech called hyperbole is the extravagant exaggeration of fact or of possibility according to which a person or thing is depicted as being better or worse or larger or smaller that is actually the case. It may be used either for serious or ironic or comic effect.
UnderstatementThe contrary figure is understatement, which deliberately represents something as very much less in magnitude or importance than it really is, or is ordinarily considered to be. The effect is usually ironic.
An example is given below.
Last week I saw a woman flayed, and you will hardly believe how much it altered her person for the worse. (A Tale of a Tub by Jonathan Swift)
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