Irony vs. Coincidence

What’s the difference?

Jyssica Schwartz

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A coincidence is when two unlikely activities share similarities. A simple example of coincidence is if you and your friend meet up and you are wearing the same shirt. Coincidence can sometimes be difficult to explain as they happen entirely as a result of chance. For example, two classmates who were not in touch with each other, run into each other at an airport ten years later.

It is a coincidence when you meet a stranger who has the same tattoo as you or see a picture of a stranger who looks just like you.

Coincidence is often confused with situational irony, which is when the end of a situation is VERY different than what you would expect.

Irony refers to something happening or something said about someone or some situation where the underlying meaning is the exact opposite of the literal meaning. Irony can be defined in many other ways, but this is one of the most accepted ways to define it and describe it.

Irony has been differentiated into the 4 following types:

  • Verbal irony refers to a person saying something which is supposed to mean exactly the opposite of what is being said. It typically sounds a lot like sarcasm. Example: A tourist exclaiming at the heap of trash bags in downtown Manhattan that he has never seen anything as wonderful as that. Or someone stepping out into a hurricane and saying, “What nice weather we’re having!” Read more about the subtle difference between verbal irony and sarcasm in this interesting article with examples.
  • Dramatic irony refers to the audience knowing something which at least one of the characters in the play does not know. This is the type of irony that makes us want to yell and TV shows and movies to “Don’t go in there!” or “No, she is evil!” For example, In Romeo and Juliet, the audience knew that Juliet was not dead when Romeo found her. She was unconscious, but Romeo could not and did not know that.
  • Tragic irony is a type of dramatic irony where the audience is fully aware of what is going to happen and watches it unfold. The outcome of the action is tragic and the audience knows it and has to go through it without being able to do anything about it. To continue using Romeo and

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Jyssica Schwartz

Entrepreneur, writer, editor, book coach, cat lover, weirdo, optimist. Author of “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” & “Concept to Conclusion.” jyssicaschwartz.com