Illustrated Guide to Literary Elements

Verbal Irony

Verbal Irony Definition: the difference between the words that a character speaks, and what the character actually means or implies

Create a Storyboard

Verbal Irony

Verbal irony is used to highlight differences in appearance and reality, a character’s true intentions, and themes. It can make a situation more funny, or more tense. It can also be used to create dramatic irony for the audience. Verbal irony is most commonly used in the form of sarcasm, but that is not always the case.

The two most common types of verbal irony are overstatement and understatement. An understatement is used to minimize the significance of a situation; likewise, an overstatement uses exaggeration to conflate the importance of a situation or event in a story. For example, Holden uses understatement when he is talking to Mrs. Morrow in The Catcher in the Rye when he says, “No, everybody’s fine at home… It’s me. I have to have this operation… It isn’t very serious. I have this tiny little tumor on the brain.” Holden doesn’t want to tell Mrs. Morrow the real truth about why he’s left Pencey in the middle of the night, but at the same time, he wants to downplay his excuse because he knows he’s just created a huge lie. In fact, brain surgery is a very serious operation.

Notable Verbal Irony Examples in Literature

Dimmesdale pleads for Hester to reveal Pearl’s father’s identity in The Scarlet Letter

“Indeed, I never shall be satisfied
With Romeo, till I behold him – dead –
Is my poor heart for a kinsman vexed.”

“But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honorable man.”

Be sure to check out our article, Three Types of Irony!

Create a Storyboard
See All Literary Elements

How do I use this?

The illustrated guide storyboards have easily digestible information with a visual to stimulate understanding and retention. Storyboard That is passionate about student agency, and we want everyone to be storytellers. Storyboards provide an excellent medium to showcase what students have learned, and to teach to others.

Use these illustrated guides as a springboard for individual and class-wide projects!

  • Assign a term/person/event to each student to complete their own storyboard
  • Create your own illustrated guide of a topic you are studying
  • Create an illustrated guide to the people in your class or school
  • Post storyboards to class and school social media channels
  • Copy and edit these storyboards and use as references or visuals
Create a Storyboard


Create a Storyboard
© 2018 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.

Help Share Storyboard That!

Explore Our Articles and Examples

Try Our Other Websites!

Photos for Class   •   Quick Rubric   •   abcBABYart   •   Storyboard That's TPT Store
Prefer a different language?

•   (English) Verbal Irony   •   (Español) Ironía Verbal   •   (Français) Ironie Verbale   •   (Deutsch) Verbale Ironie   •   (Italiana) Ironia Verbale   •   (Nederlands) Verbale Ironie   •   (Português) Ironia Verbal   •   (עברית) אירוניה מילולית   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) سخرية لفظية، سخرية كلامية   •   (हिन्दी) मौखिक विडंबना   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Вербальная Ирония   •   (Dansk) Verbal Irony   •   (Svenska) Verbal Irony   •   (Suomi) Sanallinen Ironia   •   (Norsk) Verbal Irony   •   (Türkçe) Sözlü İroni   •   (Polski) Werbal Irony   •   (Româna) Ironia Verbală   •   (Ceština) Verbální Ironie   •   (Slovenský) Slovná Irónia   •   (Magyar) Szóbeli Irónia   •   (Hrvatski) Verbalni Ironija   •   (български) Вербален Ирония   •   (Lietuvos) Žodinis Ironija   •   (Slovenščina) Verbalna Ironija   •   (Latvijas) Verbālā Ironija   •   (eesti) Verbaalne Iroonia