Examples of Verbal Irony

The irony is a literary technique that we use when we say something that is entirely different from what actually mean or feel. You may also see examples of sarcasm.

There are three types of irony, namely: situational irony, dramatic irony, and verbal irony. For this article, we will be discussing verbal irony.

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Verbal irony is perhaps the most common type of irony. We use it in our conversations and you might be unaware that you are using it on a daily basis. Notice the eye rolls of the people you are talking to? You are most likely incorporating verbal irony in your conversations. You may also see imperative sentence examples.

What is Verbal Irony?

The irony is defined by Merriam Webster as the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning. You may also like idioms examples for kids.

Verbal irony is used when we say something that is different or contradictory to what we would intend to say.

The term verbal irony was first introduced to English criticism in 1833 by Bishop Connop Thirlwall. It was an article written about Sophocles.

We would often make use of verbal irony when we say something that has an underlying meaning.

Most of the time, it would take wit and wisdom in order to come up with one’s own effective verbal irony. Also, to those who have a poor pickup on things, they do not appreciate the verbal irony. Even if someone is already accustomed to hearing the irony in everyday conversations, it will be useless if you do not deliver it with style, impact, and perfect timing. You may also like simple sentence examples.

In literary works, for verbal irony to be effective it is ideal for the readers to have enough information on the said topic so that they can follow and easily comprehend the conversation.

Take note that verbal irony is common in most languages so it is not an accident when it would just come out all of a sudden from a speaker’s mouth. You may also see speech templates.

Types of Verbal Irony

There are two types of verbal irony:

1. Overstatement – exaggeration is the keyword in this type of verbal irony.

Example: When students are only allowed to go out of the school building but not outside school premises, they would say, “We’re free!”.

2. Understatement – this is when you undermine something.

Example: Saying “that is such a big mansion” to a tiny house.

Examples of Verbal Irony

1. Examples of Verbal Irony in Everyday Life

1. If your bedroom is in its usual form which is an organized mess, your mom would probably say “Wow, am I in paradise?”

2. You are in a hurry in making your homework but then your laptop starts to lag, you would definitely say “Excellent! I’m surely going to pass this subject!” You may also see symbolism in short story.

3. A cleaner of the bathroom sees that the bathroom toilets of the girl’s bathroom are unflushed and some are clogged. The cleaner exclaims “Wow, these girls always put in mind and heart to always flush the toilet after using.”

4. We say “Oh, Great!” when we would accidentally trip over.

5. We would also say “You are as clear as a mud” to someone who is explaining things to us in a very unclear manner, defeating the purpose of explanation. You may also see metaphors and similes.

2. Examples of Verbal Irony in Literature

1. William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

Marc Antony gives a speech to which he repeatedly refers to Brutus is referred as “an honorable man” when we all know that Brutus had participated in the murder of Julius Caesar. You may also see Apostrophe Examples

2. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter

Harry Potter says, “And [the Death Eaters] would love to have me. We’d be best pals if they didn’t keep trying to do me in.” The Death Eaters is actually an evil group bent on killing Harry Potter. You may also see an alliteration in poetry.

3. Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband

Lord Goring says “Oh! I am not at all romantic. I am not old enough. I leave romance to my seniors” even though he’s obviously a romantic person.

4. George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion

Professor Higgins replies indignantly when his housekeeper asked him not to swear “I swear! I never swear. I detest the habit. What the devil do you mean?” You can see what Higgins did there. You may also like preposition sentences examples.

5. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

The first line of the first chapter of the book goes: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

And when Mr. Darcy describes her future wife, he says “She is tolerable but not handsome enough to tempt me.” But he was actually in love with another woman, Elizabeth Bennet. You may also see the declarative sentence.

6. William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

“Again and again he tried after the tempting morsel, but at last had to give it up, and walked away with his nose in the air, saying: ‘I am sure they are sour.’ ‘

Juliet says one of this line that goes “I will not marry yet; and, when I do, I swear it shall be Romeo, whom you know I hate, rather than Paris.”

7. Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex

Tiresias: You are all ignorant. I will not reveal the troubling things inside me, which I can call your grief as well.”

Oedipus: “Do you intend to betray me and destroy the city?”

8. Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal

“I rather recommend buying the children alive and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting pigs.”

9. Lemony Snicket’s The Unauthorized Autobiography

“Today was a very cold and bitter day, as cold and bitter as a cup of hot chocolate; if the cup of hot chocolate had vinegar added to it and were placed in a refrigerator for several hours.” You may also like metaphor examples.

Keep in mind to always express verbal irony when the timing is right. Do not just blurt out ironies here and there because you think people will love it. Preserve your ironies at the right moment and at the right situation. But if you are planning to write a novel or any literary based work, then you can maximize the use of ironies. You may also like preposition sentences examples

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