Sarcasm is easy to portray when you’re speaking to someone. It’s all based on the tone you use. However, it’s hard to get the same tone across in writing, and sarcasm can be missed. This article will look at the best ways to indicate sarcasm in writing.
How Can I Indicate Sarcasm In Writing?
There are a few good options we can use for this very problem. Check out some of the following to see which you like best:
- Arguing for the opposite point
- “That was sarcasm if you didn’t catch it.”
- “That was sarcasm, by the way.”
- Asking questions that you already know the answer to
- Making it very obvious in your writing tone
The preferred versions are italics or quotes. You can use italicization when you want to convey sarcasm quickly in writing. You might also prefer to put the sarcastic word or phrase in quote marks to highlight that you are not being sincere about it.
Italics is a great way to format our writing to draw attention to sarcasm. We can simply slant the words we want people to pay attention to, and to show that we do not genuinely mean them when we say them.
Here are some useful ways for italics to work:
- I think you tried really hard with this one, which is why I think you’re a great worker, Dan.
- You are an amazing person to be around. Your attitude is always so positive.
- Oh, I totally forgot to thank you for your kind words. You said some wonderful things.
Quotation marks are another great formatting tool we can use in our writing. It shows that we are being sarcastic without being too obvious about it. It helps to show that we want certain words stressed, which adds to our sarcastic tone.
Here are some examples:
- I think you should “work harder” than him more often. It “definitely” paid off…
- You should really find a way to keep that “big brain” of yours in check. We can’t keep up.
- I think you are truly a “great” guy. “Great” is almost an under exaggeration.
Hyperbole means that we are overstating a specific point. The more obvious we can be with whatever we’re overstating, the more obvious our sarcasm is. We often do this in writing when we want to be slightly offensive toward certain people.
Check out these helpful examples for more:
- I really think it’s smart that you’ve done this, Sarah. I truly believe that you’re one of the most brilliant minds in this office.
- I truly knew I could count on you and your big brain, Matt. I am never disappointed with how impressive your finished projects definitely look
- I am overjoyed that you came to me with this mediocre information! Now, I must act quickly to make sure that it gets actioned!
“Totally” works well when we want to convey sarcasm in our writing. It’s an informal word, which we can use for all forms of writing (including formal ones). It works well because it looks out of place in some sentences, which helps to draw attention to them.
If you create a sentence with “totally” in it, it will likely make people stop and think for a second. This way, they’ll realize that you meant the sentence to convey sarcasm, and you don’t truly believe the thing you’re writing.
Here are some great examples to help you:
- I totally knew what was going to happen before it did, which is why I did nothing about it.
- He totally thought he knew better than all of us. Of course, we totally let him think that too.
- I totally know what I’m talking about, which is why I think it’s important that you read through this essay!
“Definitely” is a simple word we can use to convey sarcasm. It works well in writing because it’s informal and looks out of place in many cases. It’s especially effective formally because it doesn’t belong there, which helps to show our sarcastic emotions.
Check out these examples if you want more information about it:
- I definitely think we should keep working on this project. That’s definitely a smart choice.
- I definitely think the new boss is a strong contender for the best one we’ve ever had.
- I definitely believe in this team. They’ve always shown me nothing but promise…
Arguing For The Opposite Point
Arguing for the opposite point is a great way to share sarcasm while writing to persuade. Usually, when persuading someone in our writing, we argue for one point and try to explain why it’s the best option for everyone.
If we argue the opposite point in a specific way, it can show that we really disagree with whatever that point offers. This is a great way for us to convey sarcasm where it counts.
These examples will help you with it:
- I definitely think that not doing anything about climate change is a smart move. After all, who needs a planet to live on?
- I think you’ll find that poverty definitely doesn’t exist. That is, as long as you stay in the rich neighborhoods and ignore it.
- I think it would help if there were more wars in the world. They tend to aid medical advancements because of all the injuries and death!
“Overexaggerating is another great way to share your sarcasm. It’s similar to how we use hyperbole, where we want to make a point really obvious while trying to argue the opposite one. It’s a great choice in many cases.
Useful words that help us to overexaggerate include repeated words like “really” or “definitely.” It helps to include more informal language like this to show that you really mean the opposite.
Check out these examples to see what we mean:
- I really, really, really, really think you should go forward with this terrible idea!
- I definitely know that you’re the man for the job because you’ve got the IQ for it (definitely).
- I really, really think it would be best for you to try this on your own. Of course, I wouldn’t want to step on your toes, you big, smart man!
“That Was Sarcasm If You Didn’t Catch It.”
“That was sarcasm if you didn’t catch it” is a great way to use a direct phrase to state your sarcasm. Since it’s easy to lose sarcasm in writing, we can be obvious about our intention, which will help many of our readers to understand why we wrote what we did.
Here are some examples to help you with it:
- That last part was sarcasm if you didn’t catch it. I know what my readers are like if I don’t make it obvious.
- I told them that I’d be more than happy to help them reach a decision. Though, that was sarcasm if you didn’t quite catch it.
- I think you are truly a scholar and a man of action. Of course, that was sarcasm if you didn’t catch it! Sorry!
“That Was Sarcasm, By The Way.”
“That was sarcasm, by the way” is another great way to show sarcasm in writing. Since we often miss out on the tone of sarcasm when reading and writing, it sometimes helps to be obvious about your intention. That way, no one can question the outcome.
Here are some examples that may help:
- Of course, I’d be happy to help them all with the project. That was sarcasm, by the way.
- Oh, yes. I think you’re looking very strong as a potential candidate for this role. That was sarcasm, by the way.
- Don’t worry; I’m sure you’ll find a good enough job soon with an attitude like that. That was sarcasm, by the way.
Asking Questions That You Already Know The Answer To
Asking questions is a great form of sarcasm that works well in speaking. There’s no reason why we can’t also use the same questioning method when we are writing. It helps to show that you already know the answer and don’t expect one in return.
Often, people use rhetorical questions to convey sarcasm. It’s a great way to show your readers that you know what you’re talking about, and you don’t need anyone else to highlight it.
Here are a few examples:
- Me? Handsome? Oh, you don’t say.
- Do you think you’re a genius? Man, you must have a really big head, then.
- Me? Saying something outlandish and thought-provoking? Oh, I would never do something like that. Not once.
Making It Very Obvious In Your Writing Tone
This one is left till the end, but it can still be effective. It’s similar to overexaggerating, but we use it to show that we know what we’re talking about. Often, readers will pick up on the sarcasm when you’re being very obvious with the phrases you’re using.
Here are some examples to help you:
- Not to make it too obvious, but I think it’s pretty ridiculous that you thought that was a good idea.
- I’m really, really, really excited to see you fail again, my friend.
- I think it’s time for us to put all of our brain power together to come up with a word better than the one they just used to insult me.
You may also like: 11 Words for Someone Who Doesn’t Understand Sarcasm
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.