Anne: By the way, were our wonderful guests still here when you came out and ate lunch?

Dana: I had a sandwich and …

Anne: Isn’t it so nice to have guests here?

Dana: Totally!

Anne: I just love it, you know, our housemates. They bring in the most wonderful guests in the world and they can totally relate to us.

Dana: Yes, they do.

Anne: (laughs) Like I would just love to have them here more often (laughs). so I can cook for them, I can prepare (laughs) …

Dana: to make them feel welcome?

Anne: Yeah, isn’t this great, Dana? Like today I was feeling all depressed and I came out and I saw the guests and they totally lightened up my mood. I was like the happiest person on earth.

Dana: Uh huh.

Anne: I just welcome them so much, you know, ask them if they want anything to drink or eat (laughs).

All I felt was that Anne seemed to really like her guests, and she even wants to cook for them, but why does the author say the dialogue reveals some expressions of Irony?

This conversation reveals how irony may be one of our most powerful weapons in everyday speech. Anne and Dana each employ different forms of ironic language (e.g., sarcasm, jocularity, rhetorical questions, hyperbole) to indirectly convey their mutual displeasure about the people staying as guests in their apartment. Much of the irony here is humorous, despite its implied criticism of the visitors (and the roommate who invited them).

2 Answers 2


You missed the irony, actually.

All I felt was that Anne seemed to really like her guests, and she even wants to cook for them.

No, she does not. She hates them. She hates they are there. She hates her housemates for inviting them.

The whole conversation is expressing the opposite of what they really mean.

Typical example of irony:

O, isn't this lovely! -> meaning "this really sucks!"

  • So you can perceive the sarcasm by the words along?
    – Ping Tang
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 2:14
  • Actually, it's not easy to judge from just the transcription of this one scene. Presumably it helps if you see (or read) what preceded it, where we will probably get clues about the guests not being very welcome.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 19:01

Irony is using language in a way that means its opposite. It's harder to understand that in written text like this, because you can't see their faces or hear how they say the words, and those things are clues to when someone means what they say, or is saying the opposite to what they really mean.

The clues to the parts that are ironic are in the words or actions where someone is saying how they feel about someone or something. Often, what they say sounds exaggerated (when someone talks about something as being better -- or worse -- than it really is), which is how you know they might be using irony. For example, in the first sentence:

Anne: By the way, were our wonderful guests still here when you came out and ate lunch?

-- The word "wonderful" sounds like she's really happy, but it's a clue that she might be using irony (and being sarcastic). If you could see her face, she might be rolling her eyes, or frowning, or shaking her head, meaning that really she found them annoying, and the opposite to wonderful. This is also an example of using sarcasm, which is a type of irony** because it is saying something while really meaning the opposite (eg. horrible instead of wonderful), however sarcasm is more strongly negative about something.

If you work through everything Anne says first, she is the one who is providing the most examples of irony in each of her sentences. Jump to the words she uses to describe people and things, and see if you can pick out where she might be saying one thing but meaning the exact opposite (so nice... love it....wonderful guests in the whole world...totally relate... etc).

Dana is harder to tell. We can't see her face and we don't know if she means to answer what Anne is saying, or what Anne is really meaning.

**(Normally I'd link dictionary definitions, but the words "irony" and "sarcasm" are ones that native English speakers still argue about the definition of. In this case, I'd recommend using the definitions that your learning materials give for those two).

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .