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    Wink How to interpret sarcasm?

    Hey everyone, I was wondering if you could help me please?

    1) "We learnt so much more in that lesson. I definitely know about the pie charts now - hehe!"
    2) "We learnt so much less in that lesson. I definitely know about the pie charts now - hehe!"

    The first comment (1) is not sarcastic it makes logical sense, the pupils learnt a lot in a lesson, following this they say they definitely understand something they have learnt.

    Am I correct in saying the second part of the second comment (2) "I definitely know about the pie charts now - hehe!"
    must be sarcastic as it is not really logical for a positive comment to follow the negative "we learnt so much less in that lesson".

    2) "We learnt so much less in that lesson. I definitely know about the pie charts now - hehe!"

    If so how do you tell if the "I definitely know about the pie charts now - hehe!" (common to both sentences 1 and 2) is sarcastic or not sarcastic as it is written the same? Would a sarcastic comment (or words in a sarcastic comment) be pronounced differently from words in a non-sarcastic comment? For example with the way ‘definitely’ is pronounced and the tone of voice? Or would you have to roll your eyes during or after you have said the comment to inform the listener it is actually sarcastic?

    Has anyone got any opinions please? I very much appreciate your time.

    Thanks guys.

    Last edited by richuk; 07-Apr-2010 at 14:47.

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    Re: How to interpret sarcasm?

    There is no real way to tell in the written form. You will have to read the surrounding sentences to get the context of the conversation.


    Yeah, I didn't like her much.

    Yeah, I like her a lot.

    Unless you know the story, there is no way to tell.

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    Re: How to interpret sarcasm?

    I think the way you interpret or use sarcasm solely depends on your personal traits or upbringing. Two persons can live in the same street and interpret the same thing in a different way.
    I also don't think it's something that you should ever learn to distinguish -- it comes naturally just as you don't learn to be able to tell the difference whether a person is being rude or nice to you.

    To answer your question I think, yes, a sarcastic remark would certainly be pronounced slightly or even completely differently from a non-sarcastic comment (that's how I feel). But whether you choose to alter your tone of voice, roll your eyes or add some gestures, etc, etc, is strictly a matter of personal choice.

    You said that your second example is sarcastic. Fair enough -- it IS if you feel that way. Personally, if I wanted to add a sarcastic tone to my statement I would be more likely to use your 1st example (but without comparative, as you don't provide the information what this lesson is being compared with) and MEAN it sarcastically. But that would require a person whom I speak to know the situation. For example, my friend and I are walking down the corridor after a long tedious lesson that was supposed to prepare us better for an upcoming exam and it clearly didn't. We both know that and I can say something like: "Oh yeah, it was such a usefull lesson! I think I've never learned so much in my whole life! It's a dead cert I'll pass this exam!".

    • Join Date: Mar 2010
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    Re: How to interpret sarcasm?

    Thank you for all of your time and effort. Your comments are really helpful.

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