To start with, irony can be defined as: the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect. The forms of irony apply to different scenarios. Here they are:
Verbal Irony is when words express something contrary to truth or someone says the opposite of what they really feel or mean. Verbal irony is often spoken and sarcastic.
Types of Verbal Irony:
- Exaggeration or Overstatement
Sarcasm involves the use of language to mean something other than its literal meaning, but always with the intention to mock or criticize someone or something. With sarcasm, it’s all about tone. If you speak sarcastically to someone you’re not close to, you run the risk that it’ll be misunderstood and misinterpreted.
Understatement and overstatement go hand in hand, but are opposites. When you understate something, you’re downplaying the severity of it. An example is, saying he had gained a little weight was an understatement since he had put on thirty just last month. But, if you have a celebrity crush, you might overstate by saying, “I would die for him.” You probably wouldn’t, but you want the person you’re telling
Socratic irony is a common tactic used by parents and law enforcement. Do you already know the answer? Are you trying to catch someone in a lie? See where we’re going? It’s a method of asking questions you already know the answer to in order to hear the other person admit to it — like when your wife knows you ate her dessert.
Dramatic irony is defined as when an audience watching a play or film understands what’s going on in a situation while the characters are unaware of what is happening. An example of dramatic irony is the last scene in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, when Romeo commits suicide because he thinks Juilet is dead.
Dramatic irony usually happens in three stages:
- Preparation: When the audience learns information that the characters don’t know yet.
- Suspension: The time from when the audience learns the information until the characters find out the information.
- Resolution: The truth comes out and the characters experience the consequences.
While verbal irony is limited to language, situational irony is a much broader term with endless applications.. Situational irony occurs when incongruity appears between expectations of something to happen, and what actually happens instead.
Situational Irony occurs when actions or events have the opposite result from what is expected or what is intended.
Example: Ralph wakes up late and thinks he is going to be late to school. After rushing around to get dressed, he realizes it is Saturday.