I think ‘I was near to death’ semantically correct, not ‘I almost died’, so I wonder ‘I almost died’ is literal or figurative.

hyperbole (hahy-PUR-buh-lee): Extreme exaggeration used for emphasis or effect; an extravagant statement that is not meant to be taken literally. For example: “I almost died of boredom.” Hyperbole is frequently used in humorous writing. www.hcfalcons.org › storiesPPT

1 Answer 1


In almost all cases "I almost died" is figurative and hyperbolic, as in "I almost died of boredom." But in some cases (e.g. when talking about a car crash) it could be literal.

I was near to death is a grammatically correct statement but would not be used in everyday speech, except when adding unnecessarily formal language for emphasis or humor: "I was bored near to death by the lecturer droning on and on!" This usage has the feel of Yiddish; in normal American English conversation "I nearly died of boredom" would be more common.

I almost died is in no way incorrect or less correct than "I was near to death."

You must log in to answer this question.