Overstatement Examples


Overstatement means exactly what it says-exaggerating something or "over" stating its meaning, value, or importance.

Writers use overstatement to emphasize a point or to enhance a description or an idea. Sometimes, overstatement is synonymous with hyperbole, which is defined as exaggeration for effect.

Examples of Overstatement:

1. There has never been a more beautiful day than this, with not a cloud in the sky and the sunlight sparkling off of the dewy grass.

2. We were so poor that event he mice refused to come into our house because they knew they would not find a single crumb.

Examples of Overstatement in Literature:

In his description of Juliet's beauty, Romeo uses overstatement in Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare:

"O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear."

In "To His Coy Mistress," Andrew Marvell uses overstatement to describe how much he would adore his mistress if there were enough time:

I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Scout uses overstatement to describe the pace of life in Maycomb, Alabama:

"A day was twenty-four hours long but seemed longer. There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County."

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