Exaggeration - Amplification of rhetoric. The most common type of exaggeration is hyperbole. Hyperbole is overstatement, plain and simple: “That test last week was so hard it made blood shoot out of my nose, just looking at it!”

Understatement is, well, understatement:  “Was your dreaded five-hour final exam in chemistry as hard as I heard it was?” “Oh, it was a breeze.  I’m still recovering…”

Litotes, a fun type of understatement, is denial of an opposite: “Are you finally full after eating those twelve burgers?” “Well, I ain’t hungry.”

You don’t have to remember the word “litotes,” but try to keep in mind when writers use this negation-of-the-negative for humor or another effect.

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