Is "Are you really?" often used sarcastically/condescendingly in contexts like this to mean something along the lines of "do you believe that yourself"?


A: I thought friends were supposed to be supportive.

B: You don't think I've tried to be supportive? I'm still trying to be supportive, but--

A: (questioning B) Are you really?

  • 1
    "Hey Mom, I'm going to HARVARD in the fall!" "Are you really? That's wonderful! It's not easy to get accepted as a student there." Context always matters, especially with sarcasm.
    – ColleenV
    Mar 31, 2022 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


Well, sarcastically and condescendingly are different. I guess the phrase could be considered "sarcastic" in your example, in the sense of "sarcasm" meaning containing intent other than sincerity and being caustic. I wouldn't consider it condescending. However, in writing, the meaning or intent doesn't come across the way it would in speech. It can be thought of here, and often is, more Socratic, asking a a rhetorical question. It's just rewording "I don't think you are." But the single question "really," which drips with sarcasm, is used all the time, and sometimes people pair it with other phrases.

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