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To act as if I know the difference between irony and coincidence

(88 Posts)
Timri Sun 06-Dec-15 21:36:55

When I don't really?
I kind of get it, then I get confused.
There can be an overlap, can't there?
Is it all down to expectation? So how can you know if something is truly ironic without actually being in someones head, thereby knowing exactly what their intentions are, rather than just going by what you assume their intentions/expectations are?
Am I even making sense?

ShamefulPlaceMarker Sun 06-Dec-15 21:39:04

You've confused me!... But I have had 3 glasses of port and am ready for bed!

I know the difference between the 2, but can't explain right now!

Arfarfanarf Sun 06-Dec-15 21:45:52

I think irony is something that happens that is the opposite to what you'd expect and which is amusing as a result. Like a psychic's show being cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. Contradiction is key.

Coincidence is when you bump into the same person in a couple of weird places that you have never been to before. Or when you think about someone and then the phone rings and it's them.

Egosumquisum Sun 06-Dec-15 21:51:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

madmother1 Sun 06-Dec-15 21:55:18


I have always loved the fact that the song is not about irony. I heard it again the other day and did smile wink

Arfarfanarf Sun 06-Dec-15 21:56:11

It's ironic that she sings about things that are not ironic, calls them ironic and the song is called ironic.

Egosumquisum Sun 06-Dec-15 21:56:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

srslylikeomg Sun 06-Dec-15 22:01:55

Irony: you posted in AIBU but your actual name is Mrs Unreasonable. Coincidence: your neighbour is called Mrs Unreasonable. Irony: she works at a think tank for reasonableness. Coincidence: so do you!

Arfarfanarf Sun 06-Dec-15 22:04:30

genius! grin

Timri Sun 06-Dec-15 22:14:40

Irony: you posted in AIBU but your actual name is Mrs Unreasonable

But isn't that just a coincidence
<Cries because I don't get it>

Timri Sun 06-Dec-15 22:21:04

And I thought Mr Play-it-safe was the only actual ironic thing in that song?
He was afraid of flying, finally getting over his fear, getting on the plane with the full expectation of it not crashing, and then it does?
All these flipping pedants and the Grammar Police swishing about uninvited all the time, and the one time I need them, are they anywhere to be seen? No.

<Wonders if that's ironic, or purely coincidental?>

lougle Sun 06-Dec-15 22:23:08

An example of irony would be a person gossiping with you, telling you about someone else who is 'such a gossip'.

Arfarfanarf Sun 06-Dec-15 22:23:38

A coincidence can also be ironic but coincidences are not ironic by virtue of them being coincidences.
Irony isnt about coincidence.

Arfarfanarf Sun 06-Dec-15 22:25:24

Ironic would better be illustrated by him not flying because he's scared of dying but the plane crashing onto his car, killing him.

GiddyOnZackHunt Sun 06-Dec-15 22:30:18

You can have an ironic coincidence.

whatever22 Sun 06-Dec-15 22:32:58

When mr play it safe says 'isn't that nice' during a plane crash he's being ironic. (Like saying 'lovely weather, eh?' when its pissing it down). Nothing else in that song is ironic.

Timri Sun 06-Dec-15 22:35:59

Arf That example is a coincidence as well isn't it? A wonderfully ironic coincidence?
Although irony is really not dependent on coincidence, in the example you gave, the plane crashing into the car happens independently of him being scared of plane crashes?
Am I right? <As confused as ever>

Egosumquisum Sun 06-Dec-15 22:36:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Timri Sun 06-Dec-15 22:39:18

Whatever I thought that was sarcasm?
So all sarcasm is irony, but not all irony is sarcasm?
Or is sarcasm just malicious irony, and saying 'isn't that nice' not sarcastic at all.
<Wonders if we should bring satire into it for shits and giggles>

greyselegy Sun 06-Dec-15 22:41:42

Probably a bit too pedantic; but it's late and I've been drinking some nice wine ...

Fowler's 'Modern English Usage' says this: 'Irony is a form of utterance that postulates a double audience, consisting of one party that hearing shall hear and not understand, and another party that, when more is meant than meets the ear, is aware both of that more and of the outsiders' incomprehension.'

That's about right, imo. I like how it's put, too, and hope others might as well. Fowler is still a treat after all these years.

Note also, 'For practical purposes a protest is needed against the application of 'the irony of fate' or of 'irony' for short, to every trivial oddity ...' I suspect Fowler would subsume the coincidences offered above under 'trivial oddities'.

I think it would be a shame if we lost the 'double audience' notion, so I tend to agree with the need for a protest. Quite right, Arfarfanarf, nothing to do with coincidence!

(Though, of course, language is alive and meanings change over time.)

Arfarfanarf Sun 06-Dec-15 22:43:09

Yes it is. Coincidences can be ironic.
Irony is not about coincidence although a coincidence can be ironic.

TheIncredibleBookEatingManchot Sun 06-Dec-15 22:43:21

That Alanis Morrisette song annoys me so much.

Rain on your wedding day is just bad luck.

A free ride when you've already paid is simply not a free ride.

The good advice that you just didn't take is poor judgment on your part.

WingMirrorSpider Sun 06-Dec-15 22:45:02

I always thought Alannis was singing about a death row hard on blush

Not sure if that's ironic either though..

Timri Sun 06-Dec-15 22:48:44

Grey is that dramatic irony?
<bemoans Fowler and his fancy phrasing>

Timri Sun 06-Dec-15 22:49:25

Arf Yes! One point!

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