Sarcasm vs Irony – Differences, Similarities and Examples

The Differences – Sarcasm vs Irony

When someone make use of irony to make a witty, funny and often derogatory attack on someone, that’s sarcasm or wit. You can say sarcasm is a form of irony. On the other hand, Irony is situational, a bit more dramatic. Let’s understand Sarcasm vs irony in a more detailed way using the following explanations and examples.

Sarcasm can only be verbal and is constructed purposely as an attack with the intent to mock or hurt somebody whereas Irony is the use of language, an expression that has its usual meaning and is innocent,  in a way that means just the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.

How to tell if someone is being sarcastic or ironic?

Have you ever been a part of those never ending debates.
You: “That’s not irony, that’s sarcasm,”
The other person: “No, Irony is to point out the  foolishness of something. Sarcasm is meant to hurt. That’s the difference.”

Let’s see the other points to distinguish the two. A person cannot be ironic, only a situation can and a situation cannot be sarcastic, only a person can. Sarcasm is a purposeful statement, opposite of what is intended.

Sarcasm and Irony Similarities

Now as we have seen the differences between sarcasm and irony, the duo are a bit similar as well. Both Sarcasm as well as irony are ways of saying something but meaning another thing. Both are capable of blowing your your mind with humor.

Examples of Irony:

The contrast between what a character in a movie or novel thinks or says and what the audience knows to be true.

  • Situational Irony: A traffic cop getting his license suspended for unpaid parking tickets is a fine example of situational irony.
  • Dramatic Irony: Remember The Romeo and the Juliet? Romeo thought Juliet was dead when he found her in drugged state and he killed himself. When Juliet woke up and found Romeo dead and killed herself.
  • Cosmic Irony: The sinking of Titanic, a ship that was meant to be 100% unsinkable. In a way it is related to misfortune.

Examples of Sarcasm:

Must have heard someone saying ‘he made a sarcastic remark. Followings are some of the sarcastic illustrations-

  • The person who told you to be yourself has given you the worst advice ever.
  • I’m busy now. Can I ignore you some other time?
  • Do you know you would be absolutely stupid if you were twice as smart as you are now?

That’s all for now. Before concluding the article, let’s talk a bit about satire as well. I know sarcasm and satire are also confusing in some manner. Here it is. Satire is a more constructive way of telling people about their mistakes or follies using mockery while sarcasm can be devastating without any intentions of social change. So, if you want a politician to realize his mistakes, use satire. On the other hand, if you do not have any such intentions and just want to devalue or insult him, use sarcasm.

This is the best I could explain. I am sure that now you can easily distinguish ironic and sarcastic tones. If you still have some confusion, it’s OK, some people have less than average IQ. Yes, you are right! That’s sarcasm.

Let me know whatever is there in your mind in the comments below. See you guys in the next post and don’t forget to share the ultimate Harvard’s level knowledge.