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We can exaggerate things, but I wonder if we can use "exaggerate," referring to a person. For example let's say someone is a big fan of a person, and always exaggerates his qualities. Can we say he exaggerates him? Let's say a friend likes the football player Ronaldo a lot and thinks he is better than he actually is. He always talks about his qualities which I think are not that good. Can I say,

  • He always exaggerates Ronaldo.

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  • I just passed the sequence you exaggerate [asterisk] to Google NGrams to see the 10 most common words to occur next. They include the possessive forms my / your / his / their (all being the first word in a noun phrase that almost certainly refers to a thing, not a person). But you exaggerate me / yourself / him / them don't appear. Note that this isn't a matter of "grammar" as such - it's just a matter of idiomatically established usage. We don't usually exaggerate people, we exaggerate their qualities. Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 17:52
  • The artist exaggerated the size of the castle in the painting. My friends exaggerate Ronaldo's talent.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 18:33

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For example let's say someone is a big fan of a person, and always exaggerates his qualities. Can we say he exaggerates him?

If you say "He always exaggerates Ronaldo" that's probably how it will be understood, but will come off as clumsy or awkward if you say it in an educated-speech context (e.g. business communication setting, etc.).

A person might be exaggerated by an artist in a picture, making that person a bigger element in a picture than expected. That's the right way to use exaggerate [sb].

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