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Chapter Nine. ''Secrets'' of the Pros > Telling it like it isn't

Telling it like it isn't

hyperbole, or exaggeration for the sake of emphasis, is another useful device. You must be careful, however, not to make your hyperbole sound like an advertiser's phony claims of product superiority. Hyperbole used for dramatic effect should be an obvious exaggeration, such as ''He was as big as a grizzly bear and twice as mean.'' Or, ''She ran so fast she left her shadow ten yards behind.'' Or, ''This guy has a 500-megabyte memory; and that's 100 megs more than his computer.'' Or, ''My memory is terrible. I went to an Easter egg hunt for senior citizens. They let me hide my own eggs, and I never found a single one of them.''

And, on the opposite end, don't forget the value of understatement. The late Senator Everett Dirksen is famous for having said, in reference to an extravagant spending bill being considered by Congress, ''A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon it adds up to real money.''


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