When people say "This is really delicious food", it could also mean he/ she doesn't like the food by the change of the intonation.

I also got another one like "This job is the worst, isn't it?" which means he/ she likes the job.

How do we know whether they are said with sarcasm? Could you show me how the intonation changes? Please advise.

1 2 3
" This is really delicious food. " is a positive sentence in writing. You can tell whether or not is in sarcasm if you observe him or her in speaking.

" This job is the worst, isn't it ?" This is a statement plus a question tag. A question tag can be used to check whether something is true or to ask for agreement. Also a question tag can be used after positve statement or negative stament.

In speach, if you are sure the anwer, you will low the intonation in a question tag. If not, you will rise the intonation.

Although it can often be very funny, sarcasm involves humour of a negative and somewhat hurtful kind.

Thus, 'This is really delicious food', meaning that I don't like it, is sarcasm, particularly if I say it to the person who cooked.

However, If I like the job and I say 'This job is the worst, isn't it?', it's not really sarcastic because I am saying something positive.

Best wishes, Clive
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Welkins2139" This is really delicious food. " is a positive sentence in writing. You can tell whether or not is in sarcasm if you observe him or her in speaking.

he's holding his stomach in simulated pain
he's signalling the others with the hands "No, it isn't so!!"
Emotion: smile

My two cents:

The rise and fall of the speaker's tone or voice indicates if there is any sarcasm involved.

He is a genius--No sarcasm.

If the speaker says "He is a geeeeenius", then the speaker is certainly sarcastic.

[Thanks to Blue, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends]
I still can't figure out why when people say something is the worst, what he/ she really means is that he/ she likes it. Can someone help?

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
I can't think of a case where someone would say something is the worst, meaning that they like it.
If there is such a context, it must be very rare, and it must be the sort of thing of which we say, "You had to be there".

The case of compliments said in a sarcastic tone of voice (to negate them) makes more sense to me as a more usual pattern, though I don't recommend using this device under any circumstances.

As for the intonation, sarcastic remarks are often said in an almost angry tone, but what might be called cold anger. You raise the volume level ever-so-slightly from your normal tone of voice, but not too much or you will seem out of control. To be effectively biting, sarcasm must always be in control. Then you enunciate the words more clearly than normal, savoring each syllable, possibly slowing down just a little. It's a sort of pretense that you are trying to hold in your anger. And you mustn't show the face you show when you compliment someone. Your face has to have a more neutral look than you have when you say the same thing with sincerity. A slight sneer may make the sarcasm more obvious, but it is not absolutely necessary.

OK. Now try it:

1. Someone has just accidentally dropped a stack of dishes. They break into pieces on the floor.
You say: Such grace! You really should try out for the ballet. (Don't smile or it might become humor instead of sarcasm.)

2. A waiter brings you the bill. He has recorded all the wrong prices and added wrong. The bill is much more than it should be. You ask to speak to the manager.
You say: I wanted you to know how much I enjoy being taken for a fool. Or: You've hired quite an Einstein for a waiter. (Don't smile or it might become humor instead of sarcasm.)

If you don't have a sarcastic streak in your personality, there's no point in even trying, by the way.

Man: This job is the worst, isn't it?
Woman: I know I shouldn't complain, but things could be better.
Man: I don't think so. I've never had a more ineteresting job than this one.

How does this man sound? Need your advice.

Try out our live chat room.
Show more