What's the biggest irony about IIT


Irony is a stylistic device in which you say the opposite of what you mean. Here we explain the meaning and effect of ironic statements to you with many examples.

Just watch our video on the subject here!

What is irony?

If you accidentally broke something and someone did that with you Super, Well made!" commented, you know this is not praise. Rather, he actually wants to convey the opposite to you: He is annoyed about your mishap. That is the main feature of the irony: You are saying the opposite of what you actually mean.

Sometimes you also speak of irony of fatewhen a particularly unlikely event occurs. For example, when someone dies in a traffic accident who has always been a careful driver.

The word "irony" is from the Greek eironeia (Pretense, pretense) emerged. In this sense, the speaker fakes a statement with the rhetorical device, but means exactly that opposite.

Irony - Examples

The stylistic device irony is widespread. You often come across it in everyday language, but also in rhetoric or literature.

Everyday irony

In everyday life, irony comes mainly in the direct, spoken communication in front. So that others can see the ironic undertone, you use Irony signals: Through gestures, winks or a disguised voice, your counterpart will notice that you are not serious about the statement. Irony can therefore also be funny.

You can imagine an example situation like this: A friend asks you: Do you want a banana??“ He knows exactly that you don't like bananas. You answer ironically to his offer: Yes, please! I loveBananas! " By that you mean of course: "No of course not! I hate bananas! "

Or you look out the window and see that it's raining heavily outside. You say: "That is a SUPERWeather for outdoor pool!“ You actually get angry about the bad weather because you can't go out.

Irony in literature

Writers face the problem that they have in their text do not convey ironic signals can. They do not know the level of knowledge of their readers and therefore cannot be sure that their ironic utterances will be recognized.

In factual texts, irony is therefore usually avoided in order not to confuse anyone. In the literature the reader has to focus on that context pay attention to where the utterance is.

For example, in Kurt Tucholsky's poem “The Ideal”, other stylistic devices such as the oxymoron and the hyperbola are usedindicates that he is not serious about what he says:

"Yes, that would like:
A villa in the countryside with a large terrace,
in front the Baltic Sea, behind the Friedrichstrasse;
with a beautiful view, rural and sophisticated,
the Zugspitze can be seen from the bathroom -
but you don't have far to go to the cinema in the evening.
The whole plain, full of Humility

Irony in the media

In most other written media, it is equally difficult to convey signals of irony. In the newspaper But there are certain types of text in which the reader expects irony and therefore recognizes it more easily. This includes, for example, the gloss, the column or the comment:

Example: One of the biggest problems in the world is, that the Things are not where they belong. Take winter. [...] Man urgently needs to let the sun shine on his fur again; but that doesn't work because it's cold. Just when we need warmth most urgently, namely in winter, it's cold! That's absurd." - Axel Hoe: The best from all over the world.

in the Internet irony is a common stylistic device. It is very suitable for giving your opinion in short comments. In the meantime, the winking smiley 😉 or the symbol ^^ have established themselves here as signals of irony.

Example:Cool onesWeekend activities in the pandemic: - Anger - Hate - Frustration - Melancholy - Indifference - Films / series "- Twitter channel @elhotzo

In the advertising this stylistic device almost never occurs. Since with irony there is always the possibility that someone will misunderstand it despite clear signals, companies do without it. Because they want their message to reach everyone.

Irony - effect

As you can see, irony is a form of indirect communication. A statement has a literal and a figurative meaning. The recipient of the ironic message must first make sense decrypt. He must first consider whether the statement is meant literally or not and then find out the figurative meaning.

Because of this, the context, so the context, very important so that ironic expressions achieve the right effect. You recognize, for example, that the content of the ironic sentence does not match the rest of the statements in a conversation or a text. In addition, cues such as tone of voice, gestures, or facial expressions help you recognize irony. It is also important that all participants in the conversation have the same knowledge so that they understand the reversal of meaning.

Conversely, you can also make ironic statements quickly misunderstandwhen you don't have the same knowledge or are overlooking signals. Younger children, for example, are not yet able to distinguish between ironic and serious statements.

The stylistic device is generally often used to describe a humorous effect to achieve. Ironic statements seem funny because they are not meant seriously.

Irony - special forms

You encounter irony in different situations. Most of the time, a statement is simply turned into its opposite. Then you speak of “rhetorical irony”. However, you can also do different Special forms distinguish:


In this case the speaker is himself aware of his own weaknesses and makes ironic comments of his own accord. In this way he shows that he does not take himself too seriously and that he can accept criticism. That is why self-deprecating people often come across as sympathetic.

Self-irony - example:There is nothing easier than quitting smoking. I have already done it 137 times myself. " - The writer Mark Twain makes fun of his inability to quit smoking in this quote.

irony of fate

irony of fate or tragic irony does not denote statements, but events. They occur against all expectations and therefore seem particularly fateful.

Irony of Fate - Example:In the Greek tragedy "Oedipus" the main character finds out that he himself killed his father and married his mother when he did not yet know her.

Socratic irony

The principle of irony comes from the ancient greece. During the lifetime of philosophers like Socrates, the term was understood to mean something else "Eironeia", namely that Adjust. In this sense, in an argument, the speaker pretends to be more stupid than he really is.

He goes on one level to his inferior interlocutor. Then he lures him into a linguistic trap in order to reveal his error and to instruct him. Socrates also referred to this speaking technique as Maeutics, which literally means "midwifery". So the point is to “bring knowledge into the world”. Today you call this technique Socratic irony

Socratic irony - example

  • Person A: I think the corona rules are way too strict. I don't feel like sticking to it at all.
  • Person B: I can understand that, of course the rules could also be abolished!
  • Person A: Yes, I think that would be great!
  • Person B: Of course tens of thousands of people would lose their lives, but that's just a small price to pay for your freedom.
  • Person A: But no, that's not how I meant it!
  • Person B: But that would be the consequences of your request.
  • Person A:Yes, you are right. I'll stick to the rules even if I don't feel like it.

Differentiation from other stylistic devices

Because the terms irony, sarcasm and cynicism are often used synonymously in everyday life, there is great confusion among many about them differences. Here you can see at a glance how you can tell the stylistic devices apart:

  • irony: You say thatopposite of what you actually mean. That often comes across as humorous.
    • Example: "Here I wouldprefer to spend my next vacation! "[At a large, noisy intersection]
  • sarcasm: You attack your counterpart personally and ridicule his or her characteristics. Sometimes you are ironic about it. Sarcastic expressions are rarely funny, but rather hurtful.
    • Example: "But punctuality isn't your forte, is it?" [You're too late]
    • Example with irony:“If you go now, you will come even on time!“ [You are already way too late]
  • cynicism: This is not a stylistic device, but an attitude of mind: cynics reject social norms and often make fun of them in an ironic or sarcastic way.
    • Example: "Happiness is when bad luck hits others" - Horace

In order to better understand the difference between the stylistic devices, it is best to take a look at our own contribution.