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I can think of two answers off the top of my head. The first and most common is coincidence. Many people will mistake coincidental events for an ironic situation. The key here is that by definition, a coincidence is made up of two or more unrelated events which put together seem to create some kind of pattern. An example would be two friends both being pulled over by the police on the same day. Irony however, is characterized by an event occurring because of another related event, which would generally be expected to yield the opposite result. An example of this would be for someone to be pulled over for speeding because he was busy turning on his radar scanner and didn't notice a cop sitting on a side street.

The second answer I can think of is what I'll call for lack of a better term incongruity. Heres a few scenarios that fit into this category, and which many people would call irony.

-A notorious rule-breaker and criminal being elected to oversee the discipline committee for an organization

-A soldier coming home after a grueling tour in a dangerous country and being killed in a car accident in the suburbs

-A writer gaining world renown for a book he personally hates and spent less than half the time and effort writing as he did on his other little known and non-critically acclaimed works

This kind of pseudo-irony is much harder to distinguish from true irony because it does contain some of the characteristics of irony. There is an unexpected result. A guide to figuring out whether or not something applies as true irony is to think of someone trying to do something, but by their actions actually getting the opposite result.

I hope this has been helpful. I'm not an english teacher or a linguist, just a construction worker, so I apologize for any errors i may have made. English teachers and linguists, feel free to revise if necessary

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12y ago
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2mo ago

Sarcasm is often mistaken for irony. While both involve saying one thing and meaning another, irony is a broader concept that includes situations where the outcome is different than expected. Sarcasm, on the other hand, usually involves mocking or using irony to convey contempt.

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Q: What is often mistaken for irony?
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