Ironic, Innit? Maybe, Maybe Not. #amwriting

We use the word ironic all the time, but do we really know what it means?

By francesco_rollandin Created 2009-06-25

Apparently, I don’t.

Martin Cavannagh of Reedsy sent me a link to a post about irony, which includes a nifty quiz at the end. Even after reading the post, I only got 44% right, and one of my correct answers I totally guessed at. I think I need to read the post again.

Part of my problem is that irony depends on a dissonance between what is apparently true and what is actually true. So I reject as ironic anything that’s only ironic if you’re a spoiler whore. Yeah, I know how Romeo and Juliet ends, and a lot of it seems ironic in that light. But if I didn’t know, those lines/situations wouldn’t be ironic. So are they, really?

ANYWAY, it’s a good article. Best bit: The graphic of Gollum as TSA, telling Bilbo to empty his pocketses.

Here’s an excellent and amusing article on irony v coincidence on the Drag Reduction blog. It links to a Wikipedia article on the same subject, so I won’t link to that here.

What’s your favorite example of irony? Let’s not even start on sarcasm.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Just read those articles. That’s enough pain for one day.




I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Ironic, Innit? Maybe, Maybe Not. #amwriting

  1. Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA

    July 10, 2017 at 8:49am

    Irony is the intellectual half of sarcasm. Which is why it’s a snap for us to be sarcastic, but more challenging to be ironic.
    And, your correct- too many (I bet you they pronounce it as if it where an ic added to an iron, too) miss the irony in irony.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      July 11, 2017 at 8:23am

      “Irony is the intellectual half of sarcasm.” Brilliant! So, in the B.C. comic strip, when Curls, The Master of Sarcastic Wit, is asked to say something sarcastic, and he says, “Pleased to meet you,” is that plain sarcasm, or is it irony?

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  2. Dan Antion

    July 10, 2017 at 10:06am

    I don’t have a good example, but I am cognizant of how I don’t have a clear understanding. So, as when choosing between lie and lay, I tend to look for other ways to write the section I’m working on.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      July 10, 2017 at 10:08am

      YES! Also: X and I or X and me are SOMETIMES confusing, in which case I say, “The two of us.”

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