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If I doubt anyone out there ever succeed in something, can I ask this question?

Does any mortal ever rise to that challenge?

I'm trying to use 'mortal' to add some comic vibes here and to stress that no one can do it. Wonder if it has the intended effect.

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It's not necessarily humourous, but I guess it can be. I think the statement says the challenge is, well, challenging. But I can think of how it can be humorous:

If someone actually did, or will later, rise to challenge. In the past tense case it's claiming that whomever did rise to the challenge is godly / godlike. If 1 such person is the speaker, then it might be arrogant. In some contexts, such arrogance can be humourous. Eg Seth Rollins or WWE peeps in general.

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To me "mortal" doesn't carry comic vibes. On the contrary it dramatises (often unnecessarily) a statement.

It may imply two things:

  • the finitude of (often human) existence
  • the contrast between mortal and immortal beings

What stresses your question is ever.

I would use "human" or "human being" if the mortality doesn't have to be emphasised.

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    I agree that it's dramatic, but the use of such dramatic language in a mundane situation might be the source of the comedy.
    – stangdon
    Jan 17, 2023 at 15:33
  • I can imagine a slight variation that would be humorous, if said sarcastically. Suppose a coworker is berating you and a friend for doing something incorrectly. To get your friend to laugh, you could deadpan "Wow, I guess it's just really out of reach for us mere mortals, huh?". Of course, the coworker probably wouldn't find it funny...
    – Blackhawk
    Jan 18, 2023 at 0:03
  • I think 'mortal' is used to suggest a person is just an average human in that they has no magic power, usually, if not always, hopeless in changing their fate, and can do little about the calamity that betides them, as opposed to deity. Mortality is just a by-product of their powerlessness, rather than the focus of the word itself. In some cultures, the deities are also mortal, susceptible to death, yet the word 'mortal' wouldn't refer to them, thus confirming that the main point of 'mortal' is not mortality.
    – Michael
    Jan 22, 2023 at 8:51

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