When does irony become sarcasm?

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When does irony become sarcasm?

Postby Ryan » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:32 am

Let's explore the literal definitions...
Dictionary.com wrote:irony –noun,plural-nies.
    1. the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.
    2. Literature.
      a. a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.
      b. (esp. in contemporary writing) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., esp. as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion.
    3. Socratic irony.
    4. dramatic irony.
    5. an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.
    6. the incongruity of this.
    7. an objectively sardonic style of speech or writing.
    8. an objectively or humorously sardonic utterance, disposition, quality, etc.
Dictionary.com wrote:Socratic irony –noun
    pretended ignorance in discussion.
Dictionary.com wrote:dramatic irony –noun
    irony that is inherent in speeches or a situation of a drama and is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play.
Dictionary.com wrote:sat·ire –noun
    1. the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly, etc.
    2. a literary composition, in verse or prose, in which human folly and vice are held up to scorn, derision, or ridicule.
    3. a literary genre comprising such compositions.
Dictionary.com wrote:sarcasm –noun
    1. harsh or bitter derision or irony.
    2. a sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark:


It would seem to me that irony becomes sarcasm when it is backed by malicious emotion, feeling, or intent... what do you think?
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Re: When does irony become sarcasm?

Postby GenerousGeorge » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:50 am

Probably true, the difficulty is knowing intent. I see intent assumed or misunderstood as one of the biggest challenges to communication in general. Sometimes we don't even know our own intent. 80S

I try to take peoples statements, especially those in writing, at face value unless I have very substantial reason to do otherwise. Often my own agenda can color my perception so it is a constant struggle for objectivity and self honesty. =0o

People are different and the struggle for empathy is a constant battle.
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Re: When does irony become sarcasm?

Postby Sabina » Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:03 pm

Is “ironic” the most abused word in English?

“That is sooooo ironic.” This sentence is used frequently - and usually incorrectly - in American English.

Often the word “ironic” is misused to remark on a coincidence, such as “This is the third time today we’ve run into each other. How ironic.”

It is also mistakenly used to describe something out of the ordinary or unusual: “Yesterday was a beautiful, warm day in November. It was really ironic.”

And, unfortunately, it is sometimes used to simply emphasize something interesting. For example, “Ironically, it was the best movie I’ve seen all year!”

We submit that ironic might be the most abused word in the English language.

Even Alanis Morissette was called out for being too loose with the word in her 1995 hit “Ironic.” The critics were so sharp that Morissette was forced to explain that she wasn’t trying to make every lyric in the song “technically ironic.”

So, what does the word really mean? And how do you make a proper ironic statement?

An ironic remark conveys a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning. So, in an ironic statement one thing is said, while another thing is meant.

For example, if you were trying to be ironic on a stormy, dreary day, you might say: “What glorious weather!”

Or if you were suffering from a bad cold, you might ironically say: “I feel like a million bucks.”

These are both examples of verbal irony, the most common occurrence of the figure of speech.

Irony is often confused with sarcasm. While the two are similar, in sarcasm there is a stronger intent to ridicule or mock, often harshly or crudely.

Dramatic irony is inherent in speeches or a situation of a drama and is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play. Situational irony is an outcome that turns out to be very different from what was expected. This third type is the most prone to ambiguity and personal interpretation, setting up the potential for misunderstanding, and misuse.

Source: Dictionary.com

__5__

One of the comments to this article offers an amusing illustration of the mystical lack of understanding that surrounds the word "ironic"...
oldmanjarrad wrote:when i was courting my wife, she continually abused & misused the word ironic. As much as it frustrated me, i was (then) too polite to say anything. One day we passed a site where a car had crashed into a billboard about safer driving. She responded ‘oh my god, how funny’.
Arrggggghhhh!!!!!
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Re: When does irony become sarcasm?

Postby Nebuchadnezzar » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:40 pm

Often the word “ironic” is misused to remark on a coincidence, such as “This is the third time today we’ve run into each other. How ironic.

It is also mistakenly used to describe something out of the ordinary or unusual: “Yesterday was a beautiful, warm day in November. It was really ironic.”

And, unfortunately, it is sometimes used to simply emphasize something interesting. For example, “Ironically, it was the best movie I’ve seen all year!”

i·ron·ic
   
–adjective
1.
containing or exemplifying irony: an ironic novel; an ironic remark.
2.
ironical.
3.
coincidental; unexpected: It was ironic that I was seated next to my ex-husband at the dinner.

I would have to disagree with such examples you have given for the misuse of the word "ironic"
Sabina. Given the definition from dictionary.com above, and being one that lives in New England,
it most definitely would be "unexpected" to have a beautiful warm day in November, especially late November. Now, this statement might not appear to be "unexpected" if one was saying it in the Galapagos Islands in November. I think "unexpected" could be used for all the examples, looking at it from a different point of view of course.
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Re: When does irony become sarcasm?

Postby Azur » Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:19 pm

Maybe the real difference is that one can not sarcasm shirts =0@
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Re: When does irony become sarcasm?

Postby Sabina » Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:46 pm

Nebuchadnezzar wrote:Given the definition from dictionary.com above, and being one that lives in New England, it most definitely would be "unexpected" to have a beautiful warm day in November, especially late November. Now, this statement might not appear to be "unexpected" if one was saying it in the Galapagos Islands in November. I think "unexpected" could be used for all the examples, looking at it from a different point of view of course.

Hi Nebuchadnezzar,

The terms unexpected and ironic are not the same thing.
The tertiary definition of ironic also mentions "unexpected". We use words to describe other words... it definitely leaves a lot of room for misunderstandings, but I think it is not right to equalize "unexpected" to "irony" and simply use the word ironic when one actually wants to say that it was merely unexpected.
Otherwise why should we have multiple words if we don't at least try to use them as intended?

Azur wrote:Maybe the real difference is that one can not sarcasm shirts =0@

There you go.
Or that. ;0)
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Re: When does irony become sarcasm?

Postby Nebuchadnezzar » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:37 am

Hi Sabina,

O.K. I accept your point. This word makes for a tough debate. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no English scholar. But, the misuse of the words irony,ironic is certainly nothing new. It was already widespread before Alanis Morissette wrote the controversial song "ironic". I should have been more clear in my point of view of unexpected. "An outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected" IS one of the definitions of irony. What if I had watched the weather the night before and the forecast was for a cold rainy day?

English language is full of multiple words with multiple meanings. Those words and meanings change all the time. Just look at the constant debate over the US constitution. "Necessary" & "proper". Who would have thunk you could have serious debates over the meanings of these words for a couple hundred years? Or how about when we were kids and the teachers would reprimand us for saying aint. It became excepted over time and is now a word. Unexpected is one of the definitions of ironic. It is now excepted regardless of its original meaning. I don't think we should be telling people they are using the word wrong simply because they are using definition 5 out of 8. It's going to make for a tough argument when I'm trying to correct my child for misusing a word when he's pointing to the definition that's provided.

I hope you don't think I'm being sarcastic. Would that be ironic as well....weird aint it? (Pun intended)
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Re: When does irony become sarcasm?

Postby Nebuchadnezzar » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:56 pm

You must forgive my ignorance for not proofreading before posting "accepted" as I have spelled incorrectly twice while typing fast.
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Re: When does irony become sarcasm?

Postby Rachel » Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:39 am

Classic quote from the 1994 movie 'Reality Bites'

Lelaina: Can you define "irony"?
Troy Dyer: It's when the actual meaning is the complete opposite from the literal meaning.

I agree that sarcasm is based upon the intent of the speaker/writer.
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