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How To Recognize Irony

Quite often sarcasm is mistaken for irony; however, sarcasm is a form of irony which uses sharp wit to highlight the obviousness, stupidity, or annoyance-factor of a situation. One main difference between irony and sarcasm is that irony is generally observed and sarcasm is generally created (i.e. spoken, written). People don't usually go about actively pursuing the creation of irony. On the other hand, anyone who is relatively safe from being labeled stupid, and has availed themselves of the How To Be Sarcastic tutorial, can readily create sarcasm throughout their daily life. This interpretation may be lacking, but it serves to start us on a straightforward path to understanding what irony is.

Let us first understand what is what, before we move into more sophisticated territory.

Verbal Irony: Sarcasm - When the speaker says, "I appreciate your help.", when no help was provided to the speaker, makes that comment sarcastic. Hyperbole (overstatement) - "There was never anyone as educated.", in describing someone who is uneducated. Understatement - When the speaker says, "It was a bit cold.", when he has lost a leg due to frost bite.

Dramatic Irony: Dramatic irony is the result of the contrast between the understanding of a situation by the dramatic character and the audience. Basically, the audience understands the situation as it really is, where the character in the story is oblivious to the reality of things.

Per usual, it is not a bad idea to review the dictionary definition of a word. With that in mind, please study the definition of the word 'irony' as provided in the Webster dictionary, before moving on to the main portion of the tutorial. Just using the dictionary definition is probably not the best way to understand a word, but since we are only covering the basics, this definition of irony should do just fine.

Note: Only the definitions necessary for this tutorial are included

iro.ny - n.
3 a (1) : incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2) : an event or result marked by such incongruity...

Having wasted no time on basics, we will now move on to the next section in the irony tutorial.

Continued: What Is Irony?

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