if you shake someone until their teeth rattle, what kind of literary device is used?

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favoritethings eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If a person says that they shook someone until their teeth rattled, that person is using a figure of speech called hyperbole. Hyperbole, also called overstatement, is when a speaker exaggerates the truth or says more than what is actually true. This is often done to emphasize an action or emotion. We cannot actually shake a person until that person's teeth rattle because it would be impossible to shake them hard enough to actually shake the teeth out of their gums. However, in saying that one shakes someone enough to make their teeth rattle, the speaker emphasizes just how hard they feel they were shaking the other person. Another example of hyperbole might be coming home from school and telling your mom, "I'm starving!" You probably aren't actually starving, but by using hyperbole, you emphasize how very hungry you are.