Difference between Sarcasm and Irony Similarities and FAQs

 Sarcasm and Irony

Sarcasm and irony are two of the most popular figures of speech. A rhetorical figure is a linguistic construction by which when saying something not only accepts its literal meaning, but its very form gives it an extra peculiarity. The sarcasm on one hand, is a form of witty banter, a scathing criticism. Through it, a person can express their annoyance or displeasure at a specific situation. A bit similar is the irony. However, it should not be forgotten that both are completely different. 

The irony is a figure by which the issuer implies the opposite message to what it really means. It is a kind of implicit paradox that must be received and understood by the receiver without needing to be explained. In both, the body language and tone of voice of the person who emits it is very important for understanding the message.

Similarities between irony and sarcasm

The words irony and sarcasm share some similarities. Both terms refer to a way of speaking or writing in which the words used suggest the opposite of what the author really means. This can be used to provoke laughter, express contempt, or as a means of mocking others. However, there are certain differences between them: while sarcasm generally involves insults or offenses directly directed towards a specific target, irony is usually less aggressive and more subtle; Furthermore, sarcasm is often used in a rude and ironic tone, compared to irony which does not need to be so acidic to achieve its humorous objectives.

Differences between irony and sarcasm

Irony is a rhetorical figure in which the intention of the sender of a message is to say just the opposite of what he or she literally says For example, when someone says “What a wonderful day to go out!” while it rains, he is ironically referring to the climatic situation. Sarcasm , for its part, also involves saying things opposite to what you really want to convey, but with the aim of hurting or offending the recipient This way of speaking is often used as an angry and contemptuous response to something. Therefore, there are two fundamental differences between the two: the friendly and joking tone (to speak ironically) versus an acidic and insulting tone (to express sarcasm).

Comparison table

Definition Sarcasm is a figure of speech in the form of non-direct criticism. It is a non-explicit mockery by which displeasure, disagreement or disdain is expressed. Sarcasm is said to be the vilest form of humor but the highest form of wit. In the same way, irony is a rhetorical figure in which the opposite of what is really meant is implied. The irony is helped by the external context: the real meaning of what is intended to be understood is denoted through body language, tone of voice and a specific vocabulary.
Etymology Sarcasm comes from the Latin sarcasmus which literally means “to bite the lips”. Irony, on the other hand, comes from the Greek eironeia , which means slightly “feign ignorance” and “conceal”.
General characteristics Because sarcasm is not literal or direct, it can easily lead people to confusion. However, if the receiver pays attention to the sender, if he pays attention to body language, if he is able to notice the differences in his oral register, he should have no problem understanding it. Of course, this also depends on cultural factors since sarcasm is not the same in all cultures. What may be perceived as entirely rude to someone may be a scathing and intelligent taunt to someone else. For this reason, it is important to know when and with which people to use it, to avoid confusion, displeasure or misinterpretations that can lead to something more serious. Irony, on the other hand, can have several connotations. It can be from comical to tragic, depending on the situation. For example, a comical irony is having a bad day thinking “things couldn’t get worse” only to realize later that the day is far from getting better. It is worth mentioning that, like sarcasm, it is necessary to have cultural knowledge of the environment in which the person operates. The irony has no translation, and even many times not even equivalent. In fact an irony would not have to be explained to be understood. That is why the cultural background of who says it and who receives it is so important.

Frequent questions

What is sarcasm and examples?

Sarcasm is a way of speaking or expressing oneself in which words and phrases are used to make fun of the interlocutor. It is characterized by an ironic tone, in order to defame or ridicule someone. Examples: -Oh, how wonderful! You really are great! (Sarcasm) -What an incredible idea you have! (Sarcasm) -I’m impressed… You haven’t changed anything since 10 years (Sarcasm)

What does it mean to be sarcastic?

Being sarcastic means using ironic language to make a comment or express an opinion in a mocking way. The intention is often to ridicule something or someone, usually in order to provoke amusement or other negative feelings.

What is irony and sarcasm?

Irony is when someone says or does something that has a different meaning than what they are actually saying or doing. For example, a person can use irony to express his or her disagreement with something without being too direct. Sarcasm is similar to irony, but it is used to deliberately hurt the other person’s feelings. For example, if one person said, “Oh yeah! That was very clever!”, they would actually be making fun of the other person’s behavior.

What type of people use sarcasm?

People with a sense of humor, intelligent and creative, often use sarcasm. They may also be shy or insecure people who use sarcasm as a form of defense to avoid direct confrontation.

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