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Secondary 3 English for September - Narrative Comprehension

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

Here's what students can expect for Secondary 3 English for the month of September

Today we can look at a specific question type – the use of irony and specifically, I would like to talk about sarcasm. We discussed the use of irony in January for the Sec 4 students and sarcasm is actually a subset of irony.

Some students have the misconception that if there is irony, it must be sarcasm. That is not true. However, when there is sarcasm, irony is involved. This may sound confusing so let’s try to understand irony first.

For irony to occur, there must be contradiction. There are three types of irony which students should be aware of. They are situational irony, dramatic irony and verbal irony.

Situational irony occurs when what happens is the opposite of what one expects to happen. For example, a student chooses the same subject combination as her best friends during S2 streaming so that they can continue to be in the same class. However, it ends up that she is the only one whose results qualify for the subject combination they chose and worse, the only person going to the same class as her was her arch-enemy from another class.

Dramatic irony happens mainly in books or movies where the reader or audience is aware of what is going to happen to another character in the story.

Verbal irony is to say what one does not mean. This is what sarcasm means. For example, if the author says, “Oh, she is the most hardworking person I’ve ever met.”, when describing a lazy girl, it shows that the author is trying to be sarcastic. Hence, irony used here is to reflect the writer’s attitude/feeling and is presented through speech, not what is happening.

So how are irony questions asked in the narrative comprehension?

The three common ways of asking an irony question are:

  1. What is the irony?

  2. How is irony used? What and How are the same – identify the irony and show the contradiction

  3. Why is irony used? Requires not just information but emotion, intention of the narrator/character


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