It would be hard to exaggerate......

pokl.zhou

Member
Chinese
Hello!
Sentence: "It would be hard to exaggerate the complex consequences of ..."

Question: Does it mean the consequences are so severe to label any negative predictions(I don't know how to convey this in one word...) of it as exaggeration or are so conspicuously trivial that any exaggeration will be recognized as fallacy.

I am very tempted to accept the former, but I just looking for a confirmation, since this is the only time I've seen this phrase so far.
 
  • pokl.zhou

    Member
    Chinese
    Re tamerlane:
    Sentence in full(though I don't think the rest of it matters):" It would be hard to exaggerate the complex consequences of these developments for many years and in many domains of our society"
    The article containing this sentence has presented a decline in public higher education and then illustrates a vicious circle involving the resentment against teachers, universities replacing adjuncts with tenured faculties in order to cut costs, the underlying economic reasons for the prevailing "distance-learning" and so forth, to which the "development" in the questioned sentence refers to, according to my interpretation.
    The article also notes that the finance-driven actions of public and community colleges "widens the gulf between public and private education", which gives me an impression that in the US private universities are likely to outperform their public counterparts, thus "the gulf"(in academic competence).
     
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    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It would be hard to exaggerate <something>.
    This <something> is so extreme that it would be difficult to describe it in such a way that someone could say that you were exaggerating.

    It would be hard to exaggerate the complex consequences...
    These consequences are so complex and, if negative, so very negative (or if positive, so very positive) that not even your wildest attempts to overstate them would in fact be exaggeration.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Take for example the smell of the cheese known as Stinking Bishop.

    The smell is appalling. It is the worst smell imaginable. It is like a combination of pig manure, smelly athletic feet, decaying fish four weeks old, and rotten eggs.

    It would be hard to exaggerate the awfulness of this smell. I've tried, but I have not succeeded.

    (Actually it is really quite delicious :))
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    It simply means that the consequences of something are so extreme that it is unlikely/very difficult that one could find a way to describe the extent the consequences..

    GF..

    An example would be:-

    "Health hazard bulletin: The Universe will self destruct tomorrow morning at 10.00.25 G.M.T." :warn:
     
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    LeonTheZealous

    New Member
    Chinese
    Here is another example: "It's so hard to exaggerate the peril we are in". I think it means the peril we are in is severe enough, it left no room (space) to exaggerate.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    :thumbsup: Yes, it means that nothing I can say about it would be an exaggeration. It's that bad.

    Edit: (I wouldn't use "so" - I wonder where you found the sentence.)
     
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