Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Irony of Irony (Confusing Words Part 5 of 12)

For the past few years I kept hearing people use irony in such a way that I began to wonder if I knew what the word meant. Today the word seems to mean unusual. But that's not the true definition. Irony refers to words that convey meanings opposite of their literal meaning.

Here are two examples of irony.

1. When I told my C-grade classmate that I had received an A, his ironic reply was, "How nice." (He didn't mean it was nice.)

2. "This is a magnificent view," Joan's mother said ironically, as she stared out the window at the neighbor's brick wall.

Here's a typical use of the word as I hear it today: "How ironic that I can't go to Bible study tomorrow night," the seminary student said, "because I have to prepare for a test on the New Testament." This statement passes for what some call irony because it's unusual. There's no intended opposite meaning.

Words are my tools, and I try to use words properly, 
even if others don't.

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