Posted by: Jodi | October 22, 2010

Isn’t it Ironic?

Ah irony . . . when mastered it delights any reader with it’s sarcastic twist.  It adds a certain depth and realism to characters that is hard to achieve any other way.

Then why, I beg, is it so friggin hard to write?!?

A simple definition of irony is acting contrary to the truth.  Most of the time it is used to emphasize the truth by pointing out the opposite.  Like when someone says that they are pleased to meet you when they would rather be taking a hammer to their toes.

There are three types of irony –

  • Verbal Irony – saying one thing and meaning another.
    • “This is clear as mud.”
  • Dramatic Irony –  when an action or phrase holds significance that the audience understands, but the speaker does not.
    • Using the phrase, “When pigs fly” and then having a pig fly by.
  • Situational Irony – The result of an action is contrary to what was expected.
    • Trying to break something with a hammer only for the hammer to shatter.

    Since it’s Friday, let’s have a laugh with some great ironic pics.

    Want more great pics?  Check out Friends Of Irony

    Want a more in-depth look at the topic of irony? Check out the Wiki Article: Irony



  1. Great pics and breakdown of irony. One of my favorite sarcastically ironic figures is Winston Churchill, who, when a lady at a party accused him of being drunk, responded, “My dear, you are ugly … but tomorrow I shall be sober.”

    • Churchill was a master of witty replies.

    • Love Churchill’s quotes, I wonder how many times his mouth got him slapped.

  2. Nice writeup, Jodi. Now, what can we do with this?
    I know. Let’s form an Ironic Board. Why be depressed when we can get the wrinkles out?

    Oh, wait… that isn’t irony. Them’s puns.

    How ironic.

    • @Rik…*groaner foul*

    • I can always count on you to pun it up!

  3. Love the song, Isn’t it Ironic, by Alanis:

    He was afraid to fly . . . he worked to overcome his fear . . . and crashed the first time he flew. 😦

    Also love Jane Austen’s characters who use words to express the opposite of what they really mean.

    Thanks, Jo

    • Great song, I had it running through my head the whole time I was writing the post.

      I never got into Austen, unless you count the one with Zombies, but she does have a way of using tongue in cheek.

  4. I’d love to add some clever irony to my novels. You’ve given me food for thought.

    • I would love to hear how it goes, good luck!

  5. Perhaps you could write a follow up post about the misuse of the word “irony.” Hopefully, the majority of sportswriters will read it and do a little self reflecting.

    Then, they will stop writing things like, “He missed six months because of knee surgery. He was only back for two games when, ironically, he injured the same knee again.”

    Sorry, bud, that isn’t irony. What’s ironic is the least literate kid in the class getting a job as a writer.

    • Amen. What’s sad is that most people don’t catch that as incorrect.

  6. You know, I don’t think I’ve ever consciously used irony in my fiction….interesting to think about.

    in regards to your earlier post – cheese huh?? lol. I’ll have to experiment one day. lol

    • The cheese might have been the placebo effect, I tend to be a vivid dreamer – especially when the kids wake me at all hours.

      Some stories scream for some dramatic irony and others it seems awkward. To each his own.

  7. […] Jodi noted recently in Isn’t It Ironic?,  speakers and writers may use  verbal irony to express the opposite of what they really […]


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