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Irony

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Irony

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Irony occurs when there is incongruity between what is said/done/meant/perceived.

Example

Ironically, my wife's name is the same as my mother's.

Well that's as delightfully clear as mud.

I caught the last train in time. Unfortunately it was going back to where I had started.

Discussion

Irony is a core component of a dry sense of humor, where wit is appreciated but is unlikely to raise a laugh.

Verbal irony is incongruence between what is said and what is meant. For example saying, 'Oh, that's a nice big hat' when you mean that the hat is too big.

Dramatic irony include incongruence between a character's deeds and surrounding events. It usually occurs when the audience can see an ironic situation that the characters cannot, such as where Romeo kills himself because he believes Juliet to be dead (she is actually only drugged). Dramatic irony can be tragic or humorous.

Situational irony occurs where there is incongruence between events such as where a boy gives up wooing a girl and leaves town just as she realizes that she loves him. 

Irony is similar to sarcasm, although sarcasm is directed at a person and is more of an attack, whilst irony is more of an amused observation.

Classification: Distortion, Hidden.

See also

Using humor

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