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Peter, I copied nd pasted your search terms, "gentle sarcasm" ... the "very similar entries" included, it goes up to 39.

That illustrates something that many people have already noticed: that Google frivolously changes the answers depending on who is asking. ... the works. I got 544 hits, and my only surprise is that that's a close match to what Peter got.

That's weird. I got 544 hits too, and I live right next door to mm. He can see me from his house while posting, or at least that's what he wrote once.

You'd be crazy to e-mail me with the crazy. But leave the div alone.
Donna Richoux (Email Removed):
What I've seen in a.u.e is what the others told you, that the British use "sarcasm" to mean something really ... what they mean, for humorous effect, and "irony" to mean the surprising-yet-fitting-twist-of-fate thing. You can imagine how confusing this gets.

Actually all those meanings, including the American ones, are in widespread use in the UK.
Now you tell us that a Brit said the opposite of what he meant, not in vicious cruelty, and later called that sarcasm. I can only think of two reasons. Either the word has more meanings in the UK than I am yet aware,

Yes... see above. I suspect that when he used the word "sarcastic" he was simply saying "I didn't really mean it" without consideration of his reasons.
or, possibly, the Brit (either from personal acquaintance or from newsgroups or from living abroad) had learned that the Yanks he was speaking to would understand the US word "sarcasm" better than the UK word "irony."

Possibly, but even when speaking to another Brit he'd be unlikely to use the word "irony" in that context. If he really wanted to stress that he was aiming for humour rather than cruelty, he'd find some more explicit way of putting that across.

Mike Barnes
Cheshire, England
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Peter Moylan wrote, in (Email Removed) on Fri, 20 Nov 2009 14:40:52 +1100:
Peter, I copied nd pasted your search terms, "gentle sarcasm" ... the "very similar entries" included, it goes up to 39.

That illustrates something that many people have already noticed: that Google frivolously changes the answers depending on who is asking. ... the works. I got 544 hits, and my only surprise is that that's a close match to what Peter got.

541 here.
Nick Spalding
BrE/IrE
That illustrates something that many people have already noticed: that ... is that that's a close match to what Peter got.

That's weird. I got 544 hits too,

Well, I just did it again, and I got 545 hits, even though I hadn't changed anything. I didnt' change the languages it should look for, but OTOH, it usually lists on the second or third line the languages it looked for, and there is no list. There was probably no list of languages yesterday either, or I would have noticed it.

Looking some more, I see that there is no "preferences" link, where I set the languages and the number of hits per page, but there is on the left "Show Options". If the options have replaced the preferences, then how come there is no choice of languages there? Just these things?
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and I live right next door to mm. He can see me from his house while posting, or at least that's what he wrote once.

I don't quite remember that, but it sounds like something I would say.
Posters should say where they live, and for which area they are asking questions. I was born and then lived in Western Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis 7 years
Chicago 6 years
Brooklyn, NY 12 years
Baltimore 26 years
Aha! That's the answer. People often do that.
..

Posters should say where they live, and for which area they are asking questions. I was born and then lived in Western Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis 7 years
Chicago 6 years
Brooklyn, NY 12 years
Baltimore 26 years
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Someone ends a paragraph with "You don't often associate California with good looking women." Later some Californian pretends to be ... does one call that? I don't know what one calls that, but it doesn't seem like sarcasm to me. =A0

There is no possible way to untangle this issue. You can use the word "sarcastic" ironically. You can use the word "ironic" sarcastically. It's just a total mess of shared context, and if you aren't in the loop, you're out of luck.
As the kids say nowadays, "Sarcasm is my sword, Apathy is my shield."

Jim Deutch (JimboCat)

"There was nothing very interesting in Katherine P. Rankin=92s study of sarcasm =97 at least, nothing worth your important time. All she did was use an M.R.I. to find the place in the brain where the ability to detect sarcasm resides. But then, you probably already knew it was in the right parahippocampal gyrus." DAN HURLEY
mm wrote, in (Email Removed) on Fri, 20 Nov 2009 11:54:57 -0500:
That's weird. I got 544 hits too,

Well, I just did it again, and I got 545 hits, even though I hadn't changed anything. I didnt' change ... If the options have replaced the preferences, then how come there is no choice of languages there? Just these things?

Preferences have moved into Settings up at the top right of the window renamed Search Settings.
All results Videos News Blogs Books Forums › Any time Recent results Past hour Past 24 hours Past week Past ... Related searches Wonder wheel Timeline › Standard results Images from the page Fewer shopping sites More shopping sites Page previews

and I live right next door to mm. He can see me from his house while posting, or at least that's what he wrote once.

I don't quite remember that, but it sounds like something I would say.

Nick Spalding
BrE/IrE
Well, I just did it again, and I got 545 ... there is no choice of languages there? Just these things?

Preferences have moved into Settings up at the top right of the window renamed Search Settings.

Thanks. Well. Somehow my language preferences are gone but my results per page has stayed the same. That's mildly strange.

I never noticed a difference with my language settings but I reset them anyhow and repeated yesterdays search and again got 545 hits. (No list of languages searched, like there used to be.)

I copied and pasted yesterday also and I have no idea how I more than once yesterday got only 32 hits.

Posters should say where they live, and for which area they are asking questions. I was born and then lived in Western Pa. 10 years
Indianapolis 7 years
Chicago 6 years
Brooklyn, NY 12 years
Baltimore 26 years
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Thanks. Well. Somehow my language preferences are gone but my results per page has stayed the same. That's mildly strange. ... copied and pasted yesterday also and I have no idea how I more than once yesterday got only 32 hits.

All I can say is that the same thing has happened to me and other people, at other times. There are other inexplicable irregularities in those numbers, and taken together, they mean we can't rely on Google counts to prove much of anything.

Best Donna Richoux
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