Next time, whenever you hear someone complementing you or your task “wonderful, “charming” or “fantastic”, get cautious! Or whenever you end up spilling milk or burning a cake and you are teemed with a comment “Oh Great”; do not assume it to be a commending remark. Instead, you are being criticized of your ill actions. Such people exclaim their reactions, but with negative occurrence. This is where verbal irony enters. It is actually a speech which indicates the opposite of what is said or meant. Furthermore, the speaker is well aware of the incorrect comments that he is displaying or saying. To add on, verbal irony is best interpreted when it is perfectly timed. A comment coming in too early or arriving late in a conversation can simply confuse the person or considered to be offensive. While verbal irony is one of the kinds of irony, it, too, is further divided into different types. Read on to know the types of verbal irony along with some useful examples.
Examples Of Verbal Irony
Derived from the Greek term ‘sarkasmos’, the word ‘sarcasm’ literally means ‘to tear the flesh’. In other words, sarcasm is a sharp, bitter expression used to make taunts or jibes in a mocking manner. Say for instance, “Oh yeah, that’s a great idea!” The word ‘great’ emphasizes that the idea is not as great as it deserves to be remarked. Similarly, “My, you’ve certainly made a mess of things!” is said to congratulate someone who has presented a spectacular dish but with a lot of untidiness and spills. “The water in the building will be turned off for the next six hours. How wonderful!” and “You got straight A’s on your report card? I’m so disappointed!” are other examples of sarcasm.
Also known as an overstatement, a hyperbole is attached to a statement to exaggerate what the speaker tends to mean. In simple terms, hyperbole may not necessarily convey irony, instead, using an intentionally untrue phrase to overstate one’s views. For example, when person tells an off-color joke about a grandmother to his friends and finds his own grandmother standing right behind him, he states “I literally died”. The word ‘literally’ is used figuratively indicating as though real. Similarly, “I almost fainted” is a sign of shock symbolizing loss of consciousness. “If my computer freezes again, I’m going to throw it out of the window!”, “I got bored by his hyperbolic remarks” and “It was the biggest fish I ever saw” are some examples of hyperbole.
Take a look at these sentences. “She is not a bad cook” and “He’s not the world’s best speller”. These convey humility and passivity. Though these can be simply stated as “She’s quite a good cook” and “He’s very poor at spelling”, the speaker uses the understated forms to negate their meaning. Unlike an overstatement, an understatement involves truth but a truncated one. Suppose, you have had your appendicitis operated and someone enquires about your health. Saying that you are feeling better includes truth but it will be considered a form of irony since you have not completely recovered from your pain. Take a look at these examples as well. “I suppose that a seven-foot basketball player is rather tall”, “sure, what the hell, it’s only cancer” and “Well, I can pay off the credit cards with this lottery money”.