Reading and vocabulary activity
A HYPERBOLE is an obvious and intentional exaggeration, used for emphasis or effect. For example: “I could sleep for a year” or “You made me wait an eternity”, and longer fragments such as:
"My toaster has never once worked properly in four years. I follow the instructions and push two slices of bread down in the slots, and seconds later they rifle upwards. Once they broke the nose of a woman I loved dearly." (Woody Allen, "My Speech to the Graduates")
This is a real essay written by student Hugh Gallagher when applying to New York University. Mark all hyperboles, including cultural references and clichés.
Culture and language “go hand in hand”. People share a common history that influences the way they speak. Some phrases, usually with a humorous component, become popular and speakers start using them often. They are called clichés.
Exercise: Here are a few examples with very common clichés. Can you match sentence and meaning? Afterwards, use a few to write examples of your own.
1-I work "from dusk till dawn".
2-She's "walking on thin ice".
3-"It's not over till the fat lady sings."
4-We'll "throw in the towel".
5-It's "out of this world".
6-"Do I look like I was born yesterday?" 7-I'm "caught between a rock and a hard place".
8-He's "tough as nails".
9-"When pigs fly."
10-"Love it or leave it."
11-That's "the way the cookie crumbles". 12-He's "on top of the world."
13-"Whatever will be, will be."
14-"What goes around comes around." 15-"It's all Greek to me!"
16-I have his name "on the tip of my tongue."
17-"Look what the cat brought!"
18-That's "the lesser of two evils".
19-"Time flies when you're having fun." 20-John’s eating "like there’s no tomorrow".
a-it's not finished yet
b-accept the facts
c-I don't understand
d- all day long
g-you get what you give
h- successful, happy
i- in trouble
j- in a dangerous situation
k-an unexpected surprise arrival
m-without looking at the consequences
n- give up
o- I'm having a good time
q- do you think I’m stupid?
s-the best of two bad options
t-I'll remember soon