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Recently I had a test in college that asks us to give an example of irony.

I wrote this word by word:

An astronaut had over 200 missions into space over two decades. Ironically, two days after he returned from his latest mission, he tripped on a banana peel and died.

But I did not get any marks for it (it weighs 3 marks). Is it not an example of irony?

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No, you not have gotten any points for that; it is not ironic. What is it that you think irony is? – tchrist Dec 18 '12 at 18:05
This may or may not clear things up – Mitch Dec 18 '12 at 18:22
What was your teacher's definition of irony? – Mitch Dec 18 '12 at 18:27
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Your college needs to phrase its questions better. You have given a totally acceptable example of what Nordquist ( http://grammar.about.com/od/il/g/ironyterm.htm ) calls situational irony while they probably wanted an example of what he calls verbal irony (antiphrasis). He lists a third type of irony; I've misplaced the article I know I filed somewhere, which lists about six, if my memory serves me right.

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I totally agree. Whoever set OP's college paper is an extreme pedant, and should probably not be working in that particular job. Btw - the third main type is Dramatic irony - The audience knows something that the character does not, according to that (perfectly credible) link. – FumbleFingers Dec 18 '12 at 18:52
There are 7 types described at tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Irony , in a rather amusing article. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 19 '12 at 0:01
There are also 7 types described at wright.edu/~martin.maner/definitions%20of%20irony.htm - though the terms used differ slightly. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 19 '12 at 0:06
I just Googled "xxxx types of irony" with xxxx = three, four, five,.... Everything was going fine (plenty of results) until xxxx = eight (no results), so I was going to award you the crown. But then I thought of Googling "are 8 types of irony"... You lose, sucker! – FumbleFingers Dec 19 '12 at 0:18
There should now be one hit for "are 9 types of irony", but it doesn't prove there are. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 19 '12 at 20:28

It's not good irony. It's mildly ironic to survive long exposure to a dangerous environment only to die after short exposure in a purportedly safe one.

The problem might be that neither the dangerousness of space nor the safety of the home (if that's where it happened) are the most prominent aspects of those places. You might pick place more noted for their chance of accidental death (combat and a hospital perhaps)?

Also, although this is tangential to irony, "slipping on a banana peel" is a cliché in writing and not actually dangerous in fact. One researcher called ERs all over the US trying to find a case of someone who been injured that way, without success.

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