Posted by: episystechpubs | October 28, 2013

Editor’s Corner: Alliteration and Hyperbole

If you remember, oh so long ago, on Friday I started the conversation about literally vs. figuratively. (See for previous posts, and please excuse WordPress for its wacky formatting of my email.) We covered “literal,” and now we’re going to have a look at the seven categories of figurative language:

· alliteration

· hyperbole

· imagery

· metaphor

· onomatopoeia

· personification

· simile

I mentioned onomatopoeia, Edgar Allen Poe, and “The Bells” last Wednesday, so let’s move on to alliteration and hyperbole today! The following definitions are from Merriam-Webster:

· alliteration: the repetition of usually initial consonant sounds in two or more neighboring words or syllables (as wild and woolly, threatening throngs) —called also head rhyme, initial rhyme

· hyperbole: extravagant exaggeration (as “mile-high ice-cream cones”)

Figurative language can be used to add rhythm, structure, beauty, and interest to our language, which is why you find it in creative writing, poetry, and speech, rather than technical information. (Boy, that sounds kind of bad—it adds “beauty and interest to language…which is why we don’t use it for our documentation”—but you know we focus on facts and getting information across quickly. Here are a few more examples of each.

Alliteration from A to Z, examples from Your Dictionary:

  • Allyson’s aunt ate apples and acorns around August.
  • Barbara’s beagle barked and bayed, becoming bothersome for Billy.
  • Charles’s cat clawed his couch, creating chaos.
  • Donna’s dog dove deep in the dam, drinking dirty water as he dove.
  • Ellen’s eagle eats eggs, enjoying each episode of eating.

Common hyperbole, also from Your Dictionary:

  • I am so hungry I could eat a horse.
  • I had a ton of homework.
  • He is as skinny as a toothpick.
  • That joke is so old, the last time I heard it I was riding on a dinosaur.
  • You could have knocked me over with a feather.
  • Yo’ mamma’s so…. [KC – Out of respect to mothers everywhere, we’ll leave it at that.]

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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