A Primer on Irony vs. Coincidence

This is a little distinction that most people fuck up. “Oh man, I can’t believe that happened. That’s soooo ironic,” I’m sure you’ve said at least once before , probably incorrectly.  To find what the word means lets look at a dictionary. Irony:

a. The use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning.
b. An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning.
c. A literary style employing such contrasts for humorous or rhetorical effect.
When most people use the word, however, they’re probably looking for this definition: a (1) :  incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result (2) :  an event or result marked by such incongruity (merriam-webster).
As you can see there are a few different types of things that can be labelled “irony,” and a few more that I haven’t listed.  I know that for whatever reason “irony” is and has been the cool descriptor but I want you to take a step back and think about if what you’re about to say is, in fact, ironic or if falls into the commonly mistaken category of “an unfortunate coincidence.”
Sorry to break it to you but the revelation that your bestie went to the same Starbucks as you a half-hour after you is in no way ironic and you

need to stop saying the word in that kind of context.

What else, oh yeah you oughta know that the Alanis Morrisette song contains no ironic things, which has been discussed ad nauseam on the internets. Whether that itself is ironic is another discussion, but if you want examples of anti-irony then that’s your go-to song.

So what is ironic? As the definition dictates it’s when a situation ends in an unexpected way or the opposite of how you’d think it would have gone. Got run over by an ambulance? There you go. Legless guy wins your local 5k? Ironic (although technology is taking irony out of their favor). Sarcasm seems to be ironic by its very nature, so if you’re sarcastic (which I’m sure you are, since everyone’s just sooo sarcastic) then rejoice, you’re probably being ironic.

Now that you’ve read this stop being an idiot and confusing this distinction.

Hope it helped!

Corey Aaron

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2 thoughts on “A Primer on Irony vs. Coincidence

  1. Pingback: Irony at it’s finest… @TheStyleCon | Social Media Fakers of The World

  2. Pingback: The Astounding Adventures of InspectorIrony (Rare First Issue!) | Thoughtrepostrepository

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