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Learn about sarcasm in English!

 Your online English learning course today will help you learn about sarcasm in English.

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 How to recognise sarcasm!

Sarcasm is an important part of language; and it’s often used in English. But what is it, exactly?

Mini-dialogues

First of all, listen to these two mini-dialogues. Can you notice a difference in B’s response?

  1. A: So, how was the trip?

B: Great!

  1. A: So, how was the trip?

B: Great!

Intonation change

The words are the same, but the intonation changes. In the first mini-dialogue, speaker B’s intonation goes up slightly, and he sounds excited. So, we can assume that when he says “great” he actually means… “great”.

However, in the second mini-dialogue, speaker B’s intonation goes down a bit, and he doesn’t really sound excited or happy about the trip. So, we can probably determine that when he says “great”, he actually means “not great”.

A good example

This is an example of sarcasm – saying the opposite to what you really mean. It’s a form of speaking that’s quite typical in many English-speaking countries, and it’s important to be able to recognise it. So, why do people use sarcasm? Well, basically it can be a form of humour. Other times it can be used to hurt or attack people, or make them feel stupid.

Here are some more examples of sarcasm. Notice how speaker B is using sarcasm to say the opposite of what he really means.

  1. At home

A: I love this song!
B: Yeah, me too. [meaning: “I hate it!”]

At the airport

A: The plane’s cancelled again.

B: This is going to be fun. [meaning: “it isn’t going to be fun!”]

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