Sarcasm is in most cases conveyed by tone of voice or body language, so is much easier to use face-to-face. What are ways of using it in written form?

One way I know of is to use a word that directly suggests sarcasm in context, such as 'totally'.

For example:

That's totally how you are meant to drive a car

Are there other words or methods that achieve this effect? Are any clearer than others?

  • 4
    I would say the italics makes it more sarcastic. As does "double quotes" - He is such a "genius". That is so thoughtful of you
    – mplungjan
    May 28, 2014 at 12:07
  • SarcMark? May 28, 2014 at 15:32
  • Wait—it's possible to write sarcastically?
    – Sven Yargs
    Apr 7, 2017 at 23:17
  • In the yesteryear of (bad) standup comics, they would employ a drummer to do a rimshot to emphasize a joke. You can do that when posting online by following a "humorous" statement that people may not recognize as humor with a smiley face. That doesn't work with formal writing, though.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 8, 2017 at 1:14

3 Answers 3


Almost all words can convey sarcasm, but the trick is in how you use them. Apart from italics and "quotes", a standard way of conveying sarcasm is the hyperbole, meaning that you very clearly overstate something - in case of sarcasm, to mean the opposite.

Be very aware that sarcasm is one of the most difficult emotions to convey in written (on-line) form - I see examples on a daily basis where sarcasm is not picked up by people on discussion forums and the like, which can lead to sometimes very annoying, weird or unpleasant situations. When in doubt, overdo it :

In this case, Layla accidentally made a mistake.
Yeah, that is a really smart thing to do, genius! Why didn't I think of that?


If you are writing to persuade, you can make a very clear sarcastic remark by arguing briefly for the extreme opposite. This will confuse the reader long enough for them to realize it's intended as sarcasm. For example, arguing against investment in a hypothetical country's infrastructure:

Many folks in this council are suggesting that we invest in our infrastructure but this will take away from our education budget.

Another reason we should not invest in better infrastructure is because our unemployment rate is the lowest in the world and we are in such a desperate need to provide jobs. We have too many teachers and not enough construction workers; teachers work best with class sizes of more than 200.


yeah, right

Me? Handsome? Yeahhh, riiight...

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