Culture and Society

How is sarcasm expressed in writing?
Answered by Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Channel

    Discovery Channel

  1. Sarcasm is mostly expressed in spoken language, but it can be used in writing too. Sarcasm in literature may go back as far as the Bible and is clearly intended by such writers as Chaucer, Voltaire and Mark Twain. A classic example is from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar," when Mark Antony eulogizes Caesar and repeatedly calls Brutus (one of the conspirators who murdered Caesar) an "honorable man." Written sarcasm is often used to criticize ideas, institutions and people. Since writing doesn't include intonation, sarcasm must be deduced from its context. It may be expressed in modern literature, or in informal writing, by underling, bolding or expanding words - for example, calling something "reeeeally nice" that plainly isn't. Some writers have suggested using an upside-down exclamation point as a sarcasm mark.

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