So I'm trying to write a piece of dialogue and I can't remember this word for the life of me and Google isn't helping. I know it's similar to sarcasm in usage but not quite.

The characters are in a cave. That's the obvious bit.

"Yeah," he said as he pushed himself off the ground. "Where are we?"

"A cave," He said ____

What word should I use. Please help.

  • 1
    I don't get it.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 20:58
  • 1
    I would go with "flatly" but I know that's not what you're looking for
    – Carly
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 21:02
  • 2
    Maybe deadpan could work here?
    – Paul
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 21:06
  • I guess you mean "being humorous by stating the obvious" rather than "not hiding the fact you are joking"?
    – user323578
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 21:13
  • Adverbs on dialogue tags are generally frowned up, but I might use "drily" here. (But be careful you don't turn into Tom Swift: "'A cave', he said hollowly." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Swifty)
    – user323578
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 21:17

2 Answers 2


The word to express how humour might be delivered in a deadpan or ironic manner is:

drily (also dryly)

  1. In a matter-of-fact or ironically humorous way.
    " 'How very observant', he said drily"
    " 'Fifty songs,' I mused. 'Five thousand dollars worth of digital matter,' I added to myself dryly."
    " 'We call it the belly of the beast,' she dryly remarks."

[Source: Oxford Living Dictionaries]

Merriam-Webster doesn't specifically define the adverb, but gives the following definition for the adjective and notes "dryly also drily adverb":

  1. marked by matter-of-fact, ironic, or terse manner of expression
    a dry wit
    has a very dry sense of humor

The key in using drily is that there is an element of humour or irony inherent in the statement but the delivery itself gives no indication of humour or other emotion.


Making a joke that is obvious, and perhaps sometimes inappropriate, is to be facetious:

1 : joking or jesting often inappropriately : WAGGISH
// just being facetious
2 : meant to be humorous or funny : not serious
// a facetious remark

In your example, you would use its adverb form.

The characters are obviously in a cave, so:

"A cave," he said facetiously.

  • Thank you guys. I think drily was what I was looking for. But if you have anothe suggestion it would definitly help Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 21:27

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