I found the expression, “I never in a million years thought I’d see this,” in the New York Times’ article (November 9) commenting on pedophiliac harassment scandals of Penn State under the headline, “Paterno is finished at Penn State, and President is out.”
The phrase appears in the following sentence:
Kathryn Simpson, 20, a junior studying graphic design, was weeping as she walked away from the university’s administration building, Old Main, with a friend. “This is devastating for us,” she said. “I never in a million years thought I’d see this.”
I’m not sure of whether “I never in a million years thought I’d see this,” is popular expression or not, but it reminds me of a universal pattern of exaggerated expressions that we imported from Chinese classics and turned them into colloquial metaphors, for examples, “白髪三千丈- an old man with 99,000 feet gray hair, describing a reclusive old man with long gray hair and beard,” “万石之涙 - shed 1,800,000 liters of tears, describing deep sorrow,” and “万里之長城 - the Great Wall of 40,000 km.”
I’m curious to know what kinds of popular, exaggerated formats of English expression you have other than “I never in a million years thought I’d see this.”
Would you give me just a few examples that I can use it tomorrow, because there would be hundreds or thousands?