Exaggerate vs. Overexaggerate

Updated Jan 24, 2023

What are the differences between exaggerate and overexaggerate?

Exaggerate: to overstate or make something appear larger than it actually is. Example: She exaggerated the size of the fish she caught.

Overexaggerate: to exaggerate to a greater degree than is necessary or appropriate. Example: She overexaggerated the size of the fish she caught, claiming it was five feet long when it was only two feet long.

Why do people commonly confuse exaggerate and overexaggerate?

People commonly confuse exaggerate and overexaggerate because they sound similar and both involve making something larger than it actually is. The difference between the two is that exaggerate implies making something appear larger than it is, while overexaggerate implies making something appear much larger than it is. Overexaggeration typically involves taking something to the extreme, while exaggeration does not.

What are some ways to make sure you don't confuse exaggerate and overexaggerate?

  1. Understand the meanings of both words. exaggerate means to overstate or make something appear greater than it actually is, while overexaggerate means to make something appear far greater than it actually is.

  2. Use the words correctly in context. In other words, when writing a sentence, ask yourself if what you’re saying is truly an exaggeration or if it’s an overexaggeration.

  3. Choose a different word if unsure. If you’re not sure if the statement you’re making is an exaggeration or an overexaggeration, try replacing the word with another that more accurately conveys your meaning.

  4. Read your sentence out loud. Reading your sentence out loud can help you determine whether the word you’ve chosen is appropriate or if you’ve confused exaggerate and overexaggerate.

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