Difference Between Paradox and Irony

Understanding our own language can often turn out to be quite a difficult task. Especially when delving into the nature of certain phenomena that have given rise to concepts such as “irony” and “paradox.” What do those two terms mean? Difference Between Paradox and Irony

In both cases they are statements about contradictory things, however, many find it difficult to point out what the difference is between paradox and irony; since they are often not as simple to differentiate as you might first think they would be.

If you also have doubts about it or are simply looking for a little more information to complement what you already know, then continue reading, because below we will explain everything you need to know about this interesting topic that could form part of an everyday conversation, a Literature class, a Linguistics class or even a Philosophy class .

PARADOX  Difference Between Paradox and Irony

A paradox is a type of statement that contains contradictory statements that are true and false at the same time. While at first glance the statement might appear false, when it comes to testing it, then it turns out to be true.

A classic form of paradox would be the philosophical paradox. This is where the statement is both true and false at the same time. For example, the question “Is the answer to this question no?” If the person answers “no” then he is denying that the answer is “no”, but thereby confirming that yes is “no” the answer. However, if you answer ‘yes’, you are implicitly stating that the answer to the yes question is ‘no’. Thus there is no way to approve or disapprove of the statement.


On the other hand, irony can be a bit more difficult to identify and, even more, to differentiate. The reason this happens is because there is actually no universally accepted definition of what irony is. Definitions have appeared in textbooks, but over time they have been interpreted in different ways; which is why, although some people accept something as irony, others may argue that it is that.

Irony is a kind of literary technique , a rhetorical device or it could refer to an event in which what really happens is completely different; often the opposite of what is expected. There are three types of irony: verbal, dramatic, and situational.

The verbal is when what is said is the opposite of what is meant or implied. Example: the bed is as smooth as concrete. In another order, dramatic irony occurs with literature, plays or movies when the viewer has more information than the characters in the story. Thus the viewer sees how the characters face tragedies that they have created themselves. Example: when Juliet takes the sleeping potion and Romeo thinks she is dead.

Finally, an example of situational irony would be the following: the driver of an ambulance who runs over the victim who is supposed to help.

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