Hyperbole and Paradox

Middle School and High School Teacher

Using Internet resources the students find definitions and examples of hyperboles and paradox, and then create their own to share with peers, and identify their use in a current reading selection.

Grade Level: 11 - 12th

Subject: English/Language Arts

Length of Time: About 2 Class Periods

Common Core Alignment

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.11-12.5 - Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.11-12.5B - Analyze nuances in the meaning of words with similar denotations.

Objectives & Outcomes

The students will be able define hyperbole and paradox, create examples of each, and identify examples in current literature.

Materials Needed

  • Internet access for each student, class notebooks, 5-7 index cards, current class reading selection
  • Prepare ahead of time:  Samples of popular or common hyperboles and paradox to display, 2 or 3 or each.  Current class reading selection identifying hyperboles and paradox.


Opening to Lesson

  • Display the examples of hyperboles and paradox
  • Ask students what makes the statements unusual
  • Allow for all responses, and ask if students can think of other examples off the top of their head
  • Ask students: What is the purpose of such statements?
  • Reveal the terminology for each statement

Body of Lesson


  • Direct students to the numerous web sites on the Internet to learn more about hyperboles and paradox
  • Guide students to visit more than one web site to find information and examples.

Guided Practice

  • Students must then list the definition of each in their notebooks and the various synonyms for hyperbole (exaggeration, overkill, embellishment, etc.) and paradox (contradiction, inconsistency, etc.)
  • Once each student is completed with the research and is away from the computer, distribute the index cards
  • Each student is to create 3 or 4 hyperboles and paradox of their own, writing their name on each index card (Remind them to write each on the index card, but do not identify it is a hyperbole or paradox.)
  • Once students are completed, the teacher collects all of the cards, mixing them, and then reading two or three aloud for students to identify
  • The teacher will then distribute the remaining cards equally to the class
  • The students will identify each statement and return the card to the writer to discover the correct answers
  • Using the current class reading selection the students will identify hyperboles or paradox used by the author
  • Have a class discussion and allow students to read aloud the identified statements as hyperbole or paradox

Independent Practice

  • The teacher will distribute the worksheets and/or reading passages to evaluate the students’ knowledge of hyperboles and paradox.


Repeat the question:  What is the purpose of using hyperboles and paradox?  Allow for discussion to evaluate understanding.

Assessment & Evaluation

A teacher-created or commercial worksheet allowing students to identify the different types of hyperboles or paradox, matching or multiple choice.  Passages from popular/classic literature with hyperboles or paradox for students to identify.

Modification & Differentiation

Students may work in pairs.  Assign some of the lesson for homework.  Teach the two terms separately.  Include other figurative/literal language concepts, etc.