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Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage states: A figure of speech in which the intended meaning is the opposite of that expressed by the words used; usually taking the form of sarcasm or ridicule in which laudatory expressions are used to imply condemnation or contempt.Sarcasm: 1 : a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain.A possible scenario: the stress put on the emphatic sense of literally soon carried over to the ironic sense, which linguists remind enraged masses, was used by the likes of Alexander Pope and Charles Dickens generations before any of us were born.To a certain extent, definitely and totally can be seen to parallel the linguistic development of are still very new, we’ll look to language innovators such as teens, twenty-somethings and techies for some insight on the use of these terms. On the teen-girl-geared website Rookiemag.com, one writer’s bio read as follows: When she’s not busy writing to support her glamorous waitressing career, you can catch her tweeting, embroidering, blogging, or definitely not reading Food Network fan fiction.In a clear example from literature, in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Mark Antony's speech after the assassination of Caesar appears to praise the assassins, particularly Brutus ("But Brutus says he was ambitious; / And Brutus is an honourable man"), while actually condemning them."We're left in no doubt as to who's ambitious and who's honourable.With all the recent hullabaloo about the figurative sense of literally, language enthusiasts have given much thought to this often maligned term.Recently we discussed how the metaphorical extension of literally is nothing new—it’s been around since the 1700s—and now we’d like to explore a few other adverbs and their ironic uses.
A fair amount of confusion has surrounded the issue of the relationship between verbal irony and sarcasm.
Verbal irony is a statement in which the meaning that a speaker employs is sharply different from the meaning that is ostensibly expressed.
An ironic statement usually involves the explicit expression of one attitude or evaluation, but with indications in the overall speech-situation that the speaker intends a very different, and often opposite, attitude or evaluation.
While the public eye might be focusing on literally, perhaps that old news should be dropped in favor of analysis of these largely unexplored uses of definitely and totally.
), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or event in which what appears, on the surface, to be the case, differs radically from what is actually the case.
Irony may be divided into categories such as verbal, dramatic, and situational.