Readers reply: what are the best examples of genuine irony?

<span>Not that kind of irony … the Eiffel Tower welcomes the Olympics to Paris.</span><span>Photograph: Hubert Psaila Marie/Abaca/Rex/Shutterstock</span>
Not that kind of irony … the Eiffel Tower welcomes the Olympics to Paris.Photograph: Hubert Psaila Marie/Abaca/Rex/Shutterstock

One of my pet hates is when something is described as ironic when it is simply surprising, amusing or strange. (See Alanis Morissette’s song Ironic.) What are the best examples of genuine irony? Shane Maloney, Wigan

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An example of irony in the sense Morissette intended is the Union army general John Sedgwick’s supposed last words after being fatally wounded by a sharpshooter at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House: “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.” ofap

The Flat Earth Society claims to be a global movement. schoolhouse2

Nigel Farage will receive a pension from the EU parliament when he turns 63. Mike345

The inability to say the word “articulate”. Mattgeo4587

I’m allergic to antihistamines. Paroxetine

Air-conditioners are a cause of global warming. plotterinthepark

We had a nice one this morning. I said to my 11-year-old: “Sit up properly or you’ll spill your hot chocolate.” He insisted he was positioned appropriately. I passed him the drink, which he drank without a spill. I then picked up my tea and spilled it on the white duvet. He said: “How ironic.” I said: “Good use of the word,” and felt a mix of pride and irritation. louise_doc

The Eiffel Tower. Very irony. KnomDerPloom

Blackadder: “Baldrick, have you no idea what irony is?”
Baldrick: “Yes, it’s like goldy and bronzy only it’s made out of iron.” goodyorkshirelass

When I was a child, a family cat was run over by the local vet. Even at the time, the irony slightly lessened the heartbreak. My dad said we were lucky the vet didn’t send an invoice! Jude

A friend of mine slipped and broke his arm while putting salt down on the path leading to his door. JaySmyth15

When the Oxbridge-educated, second-generation immigrant former home secretary Suella Braverman announced that multiculturalism had failed. halfatoneoff

It’s ironic that “colloquialism” is one of the least colloquial words. TravelinJones

Shakespeare provides examples of two sorts of irony. When Mark Antony tells the Roman crowd: “Brutus is an honourable man,” he is using verbal irony, saying the opposite of what he means for rhetorical effect. When Romeo kills himself, believing Juliet to be dead, the audience knows that she is alive and that Romeo would have acted very differently if he knew what we know. This is dramatic irony.

Both sorts have their offshoots. An “ironic moustache”, for example, would be a version of verbal irony, but with a symbol instead of a word. And Morissette’s much-maligned type of irony is a sort of dramatic irony in which we imagine God to be both dramatist and audience, who knows full well as we pay for our ride that it is actually going to be free. James Picardo

Someone here once described themselves as an “unashamed language elitist” and thus averse to neologisms and Americanisms. I pointed out that “elitist” is a neologism and an Americanism. flatfifth

A great example of genuine irony (making a point by seemingly arguing for the opposite position) is Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. ofap

That we still don’t understand irony. Dorkalicious