Definition and Types of Irony

What Is Irony?

Irony is a situation in which there is a contrast between expectation and reality. We use irony to create a contrast between appearances and underlying truths. For example, the difference between what something appears or someone says to mean very different from its literal meaning. Irony is associated with both humor and tragedy.

The term irony came into English language in the sixteenth century and came from the French word “ironie” and before that, from the Latin word “ironia” which means “feigned ignorance.”

Definition and types of irony

Types of Irony

There are four main types of irony: Dramatic irony, Comic irony, Situational irony and Verbal Irony.

Dramatic irony

It is also known as tragic irony, this is when an author lets their reader know about something that a character does not. For example, a man is going to attend a wedding party and he is much hungry and thinking that he will enjoy a great meal there. He gets early, go to market, buy good shoes and clothes and prepare himself for the evening party, but readers know that the date for the party was 16th June and today is 17th June. He goes there and found no one is there, looks on watch and cries. Here readers were aware about the future happening of the man. Similarly, in Shakespeare’s Othello, Othello trusts Iago—but the audience knows better. Learn more about dramatic irony in complete guide here.

The stages of dramatic irony

There are three stages of dramatic irony: Installation, Exploitation, and Resolution.

Installation: In this stage, the information is presented to the audience or readers, but withheld from the characters. 

Exploitation: In this stage, the author uses this imbalance to heighten curiosity and tension. 

Resolution: In this final stage, the characters find out the truth. 

Example of Dramatic Irony from Othello

Othello, written by Shakespeare, is one of the most pitiful tragedies because of the use of dramatic irony. We see how Iago is spoiling the life of Othello but he himself calls Iago best friend. We know how Iago manipulate every situation to get his own ends. Iago framed Desdemona, and we know she was innocent, but we are powerless to stop Othello; he has resolved to murder his wife. Othello considers him a friend and he has been plotting Othello’s demise during the whole play.

Othello was not aware that Iago is the one who is pulling his strings, but we know very well. We also know that he is the man who convinces Roderigo to kill Cassio, even as we witness him pretend to help Cassio after Roderigo wounds him. Only we see Iago kill Roderigo before revealing the truth. During the whole play, we know about Iago’s plotting but Othello was entrapped into his web calling him a best friend, and we witnessed a dramatic irony in this way.

Comic irony

Comic irony is used to create humorous effect—such as in satire. It is also a type of irony and comes in many forms, and can derive from ironic statements by characters or narrators in a work of fiction. It can also arise from the situation presented in the work. Irony, which creates comic effects, is known as comic irony.  Writers divide irony into many types. Any of these types can play the role of comic irony. A verbal irony or situational irony can create humorous effects.  

A classic example of verbal irony used by Jane Austen, in her novel Pride and Prejudice, to create comic effects that occurs in the opening lines. The novel starts with the remark that “it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” However, this statement is intended ironically: the female characters are chiefly concerned to marry a single man of good fortune.

Situational irony

This situation happens in a play when an expected result is subverted. For example, a man gets early to catch a bus, reaches at stop before time and feels happy that today his boss will appreciate him. When he listen the horn of bus, he feels much happy, gets into bus and comes to know that he forget his purse at home, he goes back to home and gets late again for the duty.

Situational irony in The Gift of the Magi

In short story, The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry, we come across a situational irony when a wife sells her hair to buy a chain for her husband’s watch, and on the other hand her husband sells his watch to buy a combs for her hairs. Both of them have made sacrifices in order to buy gifts for one another, but in the end, the gifts are of no use. The real gift (winning others heart) show how much they are ready to give up their best belongings to win their love for one another.

Verbal irony

This is a verbal statement where a speaker means something very different from what he or she is saying. When a person want to say something in a bad response and he says thank you very much, It is verbal Irony. Some of the Examples of verbal irony are written below.

Examples of verbal Irony

Here are some phrases you might hear in everyday conversation that are the pure examples of verbal irony. These short phrase or sentences are always spoken in a context of a conversation.

If a boss orders his driver to clean the side mirror of his car and after cleaning driver says sir I have cleaned all the mirrors. Boss looks into mirrors and says, “These are clear as mud”: mean driver have not cleaned them properly.

Some more examples are below

 “Friendly as a rattlesnake”

“About as much fun as a root canal”

“Thank you so much” (in response of something bad)

How to Improve Spoken English?

Everyone wants to improve spoken English. Improving spoken English has become a significant thing throughout the world for common communication among people of different races, being the second language globally. Spoken English is the use of English language for conversational purposes. Whether it is for a business or a casual meet-up, it is important to have fluency and accuracy while speaking. People deal with different difficulties when they speak English, like stuttering or nervousness. Sometimes they do not have enough vocabulary or phrases to express their thoughts, or even form a simple sentence. Following are a few, very useful and easy ways showing how to improve spoken English.

improve spoken English

Reading this article would enable you to:

     Realize your common mistakes while improving spoken English

     Enhance your vocabulary

     Gain confidence about yourself

     Communicate easily with your society and native speakers

     Understand native speakers much better

     Polish your writing and listening skills as well

     Improve your Grammar

     Better understanding of the parts of speech

     Become fluent while speaking

Confidence and Positivity

The first and foremost thing you need is confidence. If you really want to improve spoken English skills, you will have to set aside your shyness and nervousness. Do not over think about being criticized by others. If you do get criticized, do not take it seriously, because of course you are in the learning. Keep trying until you become able to speak fluently.

Your body language speaks volumes. Keep it straight and confident. Do not use too much hand gestures while speaking or the listener could easily be annoyed. Avoid fidgeting; otherwise, the other would know that you are not comfortable while talking. Keep your body relaxed and your posture friendly. This way, you will be able to overcome the nervousness and shyness that is the main barrier between you and your speaking skills. Be positive and encourage yourself. Do not think that you will mess up or you cannot do it. These things will only make you stutter and more miserable. Be honest and real towards other people and keep trying.


Grammar is something that is very essential in order to speak English at all. You can easily sound strange to native speakers if you do not have any knowledge of English grammar.

It is important to structure your words correctly when you are having a formal conversation or a conversation in your social circle. Of course, you can relax in your inner circle like family and extremely close friends who can easily understand you.  Start with simple and basic grammar first. What are the rules? Teach yourself a few concepts and then imply them to improve your spoken English.

If you are going on a trip, you need some basic information but if you were applying for a study visa or going on a business trip, the situation would be different. You will be in need of full command over English grammar and speaking skills. Maybe you know about one thing in grammar but not the other like tenses or perfect continuous sentences. Make notes about what you find difficult and what are the most common rules you see being used in daily life. There are many confusing rules so make a list of them to keep with you as a reminder. Give yourself challenges to learn a new rule every day so you can stay focused and not get overwhelmed by too much information at once.

Some rules are necessary to remember. These cannot be forgotten or else you can mess up while talking. Check out our grammar section to learn more deeply about this subject. You will certainly benefit from it.


Sometimes during a conversation, you do not know how to put your thoughts into words, or how to define what you actually feel or mean. This leads to confusion between people. They are unable to understand what you really want to say. In order to be fluent in spoken English you need to work on your vocabulary efficiently. Learn more words daily and add them to your dictionary. By learning new words, you will be able to form sentences. You will be able to describe certain situations. It will enable you to use the suitable words according to the circumstances.

Read words with their meanings. It will help in remembering the words more accurately. Do not over do it. Learn a small amount of words daily, it will enable you to remember the words while giving you the chance to use that vocabulary in your daily life.

Another very useful Vocabulary Guide will teach you about vocabulary that you need in every day conversation. Hope it will help you to improve spoken English.

  1. Proposal, Dating, and Marriage Vocabulary
  2. Love and Romance Vocabulary
  3. Eating and Drinking Vocabulary
  4. Food and Cooking Vocabulary
  5. Fashion and Clothes Vocabulary
  6. Weather and Climate Vocabulary
  7. Kitchen Utensils Vocabulary With Images

 Describing a person

Suppose you have to describe a person. You will need appropriate vocabulary to do so. This quick article on,

How to Describe a Person in English will assist you greatly. Some of the main articles are here for your help.

  1. Positive personality adjectives
  2. Negative personality adjectives
  3. Skin and complexion vocabulary
  4. Eye shape, size, color, and expressions vocabulary
  5. Facial hair, beard and moustaches vocabulary
  6. Hairstyle, color and  hair texture vocabulary
  7. Build, shape and physique vocabulary

Idioms and Phrases

Make your conversations colourful and interesting using different sayings, idioms and phrases in your spoken language. No doubt, learning new vocabulary is extremely helpful but if you learn whole phrases instead of just words, you will see it is easier to remember and understand them.

Here is a link to 100 most common used idioms in English with simple and easy explanations.

Here is also a link to 200 most common used short and long phrases in English with explanations.

There are also examples of usage for your easy and quick learning. Go on and start conversing in a lively manner.

Listening and Learning

Listening is the key to learning. Even before speaking or reading, the first change you need to make is about listening. Listening makes you more adaptive and you can learn anything more easily by listening. Just like children learn their first language only by listening and seeing the gestures that follow the words. They observe the way the mouth forms the words and try to imitate the movements. By observing and trying to speak like this, you will have a great accent like a native speaker too. Listening is an essential element to improve spoken English so listen natives as much as you can.

Do not worry if you do not have a native speaker nearby. Listen to different speeches, audios, or podcasts in the English accent that you want to develop. You can also listen to the news. It will not only improve your spoken English, it will help increase your knowledge about different things.

Start Talking

The most important thing that will help you in spoken English is that you start speaking right away in English. Do not worry about how you sound or what other people might think, or that you might speak wrong. Take the first step and start speaking without any hesitation. This way, you will get comfortable hearing your voice in English, will speak more clearly, and will not make mistakes due to shyness, nervousness, or confusion.

Practice by yourself

You can start practicing with yourself first before talking to others if you are hesitant. You can also ask your friends who are good at English to talk to you and point any mistakes out. Recording yourself conversing in English and paying attention to your sentence structure and grammar by listening to it will also help. You can ask your friends to improve you by listening to those recordings too. It will also help you to track your progress. Just make up any possible scenarios and then make conversations according to those situations. It will be fun and very helpful.


At the end of the day, you are learning a language for communication, so communicate. Do not hesitate to chatter with people. Talk to your friends and family in English so you can overcome your shyness and stop stuttering. Talk to your pets in English. If the people at the stores you go to speak English, chat with them. Talking to a stranger, if you love in an English speaking country, is actually good when you are trying to improve a language that they speak. Natives mostly do not judge quickly based on a language, they would just like to have a conversation. Just go easy on yourself and enjoy the process.

Speak Normally and Calmly

Either people speak too quickly, which makes them incomprehensible, or extremely slow. Speak moderately so you can be understood and try to pronounce the words more clearly. This way you will be able to listen to yourself speak, will speak clearly, and comfortably. Keep your calm and put the nerves aside. It is all right, you are learning and mistakes are a part of learning process.

Watching Movies

Watching movies is the most effective and easy way to improve your spoken English. Watching with subtitles will enable you to learn new vocabulary as well. It will also help in understanding the sentence structure much better. Watch American or British based movies so it can be easy to adapt a certain accent. It will also provide an opportunity to listen to Native speakers. You will learn the phonics. It will enable you to pronounce every word accurately.  Moreover, you will have the additional benefits of entertainment and will learn their culture too.

Book Reading

No doubt, books are another effective way to improve your spoken English. You get a wide range of words and phrases helping you to structure your sentences right and connect them in your daily routine. You get to understand the meaning of words more clearly in a novel’s context. There are so many scenarios in books and you get to get preparation for effective speaking in a lot of situations. Reading books aloud would be especially helpful.

Quick Tips

These are a few very useful tips in improving your spoken English:

     Think in English, instead of thinking in your native language and then translating that thought into English. This will reduce the time you will need to form a sentence because now you will not be wasting time translating.

     Stand in front of a mirror and speak to yourself. Notice your body language, accent, phonics, grammar and every other possible detail. This way you will be able to pinpoint mistakes on your own.

     Take three to five new words or phrases each day and throughout the day keep repeating those to yourself, and try to incorporate them in your chats.

     There are many apps and games available for taking quizzes and improving your language in a fun way. You might want to consider those.


Anyone can learn to speak a language at any point in his or her life. There is no age for learning. The approach is to just stay focused and not making a fuss about it. You are learning something new every day. Make it count. Be persistent in your learning and stay calm and gentle with yourself. Do not overwhelm and overburden yourself.  We encourage you in your learning and you should encourage And appreciate yourself too. This link is to other useful materials in you English speaking and learning journey:

Hope this article has helped you. Happy Learning





Word Pronunciation and IPA Rules

The IPA is a course from which even a non-native speaker of English language can pronounce every word of English as a native speaker does.

There is no need for regular classes for this course but it is a unique type of course and it is very short but some people think that only those who study LINGUISTICS can know the pronunciation of words.

When we come across an English word, we judge its pronunciation by another word, but in English, the pronunciation of the same letter or a symbol of a combined form of some letters in different words may be different.

As there is a rule for pronouncing words in every language which is present in the dictionary how to read the word but interestingly the word cannot be pronounced with the letters “ABC” in English that is why you see That “TIO” in “NATIONAL” is giving the sound of “sh” and in “QUESTION” it is giving the sound of  “ch”.

Therefore, the interesting point is that you have to learn 44 sounds of IPA, and then you will be able to pronounce all the English words yourself in the same way as native speakers do.

Did you know that there are ten English words that have the same letters but still the pronunciation of each word is not the same?

These words are Thought, Rough, Lough, Through, Slough, Though, Plough, Thoroughly, Cough, and, Hiccoughing.

After looking at these words, a question comes to mind that how to find out their correct pronunciation from the dictionary and what is the way to do it. The answer is that you can learn the rules in IPA through which you can learn and check pronunciation without listening.

Do you know that “an umbrella” is correct but “an university” is not?

You may be wondering if ‘u’ is a vowel letter then why not ‘an’ with vowel (an university) as it is added with umbrella (an umbrella). The answer is that we have to look at the sound not at the letter because the rule of ‘a’ and ‘an’ is not for the letters which are called vowels, but it is for the vowel sounds. That is why there will be “a hen” and “an honest” person. You have to see whether there is a vowel or consonant sound in the beginning rather than vowel or consonant letter.

If there is a vowel sound then we will use article ‘an’ an and if there is a consonant sound then we will add article ‘a’.

There are lot of reasons that cause troubles to understand natives. The reason is that some of the sounds with which we have learned pronunciation are not with the natives.

This, Those, That, They

In Asian countries they are taught with “d” but natives do not pronounce these words with this sound. Similarly,

Thank, Think, Thought, Theory,

Many learn them with “th” but natives do not pronounce these words with this sound, and there is a problem in listening due to not learning correct sounds and you will find all these sounds in IPA.

Now consider these letters.


Words with these letters have sounds like “s”, “sh”, “ch”, “z”,”k” for example.

Social, Session, Position, Vision, and Possession: in these words, “s” is accompanied by the sound of “s”, “sh”, “z” and “z”. One letter may have more than one sound. To clear up this confusion and find out where the sound is, IPA chart is the only way to learn these sounds.

It can be said with full confidence that after learning IPA, you can also pronounce the word that appears for the first time.

The letter “D” is silent in word Wednesday, similarly, “R” is silent in word Thursday and there are many other words that mute the letters in a word like “K” in “Know” but It is also a confusion that we keep asking and memorizing which letter to silence where there is a rule to avoid memorization.

After learning IPA, you do not memorize or ask, but you know the right pronunciation of each word.

Did you know that non-native make sounds of English letters with many letters of their native tongue, due to which they get confused as to why they do not understand the sounds of native

Some things to keep in mind that: Alphabet is a writing system in which a language is written and ABC is for reading and writing.

Literary Terms Used in English Drama

What is a Literary Term?

Literary term is a technique or a device used by a write to tactfully emphasize, embellish, or strengthen their compositions. We can define Literary term in many ways. It is a tool to coin new thought and meaning into a word or an action. Literary terms also include name of different structures and formats in a given text like plot or diction of a literary piece. Writers utilize utmost meaning of a word by their different techniques, and they make their writing more appealing and interesting with full of figurative language and imagery.

literary terms used in English drama

Literary Terms Used to English Drama


Drama is any literary work that tells a story that usually involves actors on stage in front of a live audience. It is possible to read and comprehend works of drama; however, the full expression of drama is in the context of its performance on the stage.


The plot of a drama is a sequence of events that occur during the course of that drama and the way in which they are presented on the stage. According to Aristotle, plots must be in three parts: beginning, middle, and end; each event in the plot causes the next event to happen.


Theme is the central idea revealed in a literary text. Usually main theme of a literary work can be expressed in one word, such as love, war, heroism, hypocrisy, society, revenge, hate, wealth, etc. A literary work may have more than one theme in a single text. Usually, theme is not stated plainly in the text, but it is expressed through the characters’ actions, words, and thoughts.


The protagonist is the main character of a work of literature: drama, novel, story, or a heroic poem. It may b a male character or a female, for male character, word hero is also used and in same way heroin is used for female protagonist. Sometime a drama or play may have more than one protagonist or may be without a protagonist or sometime this character remains hidden.


Character is a person or anything that has an active role on stage of a drama. Sometime it may be an animal, an object, a tree or an illusionary character.


Characterization is the way of describing and creating characters in drama. Characterization usually includes personality traits of an individual character and includes both descriptions of a character’s physical attributes as well as the personality of a character. It also includes the way that characters act, think, behave, and speak.


Catastrophe is dramatic action that is done after tragedy or tragic event. It is a momentous tragic event ranging from bad luck to extreme misfortune or ruin of tragic hero. It may be due to fate, intrigue of a villain, or due to hamartia of the hero.


Aristotle linked the term catharsis to dramatic tragedy. It is release of the emotions such as sadness, fear, and, pity through viewing a tragedy and it involves the change of extreme emotion to lead to internal restoration and renewal. In this way spectators learned to display emotions at a proper amount and minimize extreme outbursts of emotion in their routine life.


This term is used for a group of singers and dancers who perform on stage and their performance or song predicts future happening in the drama and connects part of drama. In Elizabethan drama chorus spoke the prologue of the drama.  It was most common part of drama in Greek tragedies.


The climax of a literary work is the very peak of tension nearly after the mid of the drama from which the conclusion comes down. In a tragedy, the climax reveals the protagonist’s greatest weaknesses or change in his mind, and this situation create curiosity among viewers and they expect something unusual.


In literary works, tone is the attitude or approach that the author takes toward the main theme of drama or any other literary piece. The tone of literary work may be humorous, distant, intimate, solemn, ironic, condescending, sentimental, arrogant, etc.


Satire is a genre of literature that is used to ridicules problems in society, businesses community, government, and individuals in order to highlight attention to certain vices, abuses, and follies, for the sake of improvements. Sarcasm and irony are usually key tools of satire. Satirists also use analogy, parody, and juxtaposition to highlight their points.


Exposition is the beginning of a drama in which characters are introduced through a prologue, a chorus song or through dialogue depending on the plot of the drama.


Conflict is a state of clash between the ideas and choice in minds of the characters. They cannot choose the right way and get stuck between true and fake.


The denouement is a final part of the drama just after the climax in which there is resolution for any conflicts left in the plot. All the loose threads of the plot are tied up and secrets are revealed in this last part.

 Tragic Comedy

Tragic comedy is a form of drama in which there is a mixture of comedy in a tragedy. In a tragedy, comedy is used to release the catharsis of the audience. Comedy is used in tragedy where audience are not able to see a tragic scene for a long time.


A fool is a character in a drama who acts as a joker in the drama. In tragedies, fools are created to neutralize the emotions of the audience or readers.


Thought mean what a character thinks or feels during the play. It may be an individual thought or it may be of multiple characters. Sometime, a character depicts the whole society that means he is reflecting thought of that society.


Diction is a choice of words and a language medium by which characters reveal thoughts and feelings.


“It is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete in itself and have a certain magnitude arousing the emotions of pity and fear resulting in catharsis”


Hamartia is a special term first used by Shakespeare for the downfall of protagonist due to his error of judgment. It may be due to his wrong decision unconsciously or he fails to judge what is right or what is wrong.


It is the turning point of the play where audience observes unpredictable change in the play.

Comedy of Manner

Comedy of manner is the form of comedy on the life style and pursuits of elite class.

Domestic Comedy

Domestic comedy is the comedy of common people depicting their pursuits and general routine life in their domestic domain.


 A soliloquy is a monologue in which a character speaks out in a loud voice when he is alone. In this way audience can know what is happening next in the play.


The term stereotype is used for conservative ideas in a play about a character, setting or plot.


A motif is a repeating theme in the play. Some play or stories have more than one theme. The theme that is repeating in many section of the play is called motif

How To Answer a Literary Question?

Are you worried to answer a literary question? Here are the few tips in this article that can build confidence in students to write a well-structured answer for a question.  

how to answer a literary question

How to Answer a Literary question?

Theme is the key part of the question. When students are writing an answer, first they have to ponder on the main theme of the question. This is very important. Usually, students do not read the whole statement of the question and they just start writing whatever comes to their mind. It is all due to the lack of time. Students have so many questions to attempt so they cannot afford so much time. At that time, students need to draw the complete structure of the question. They must make an outline of the question before going to write down the answer directly. Students may have a lot of ideas about the asked question but it is necessary for them to figure out the most important content that they are supposed to write. Always divide your answer into three main parts.

  • Introduction
  • Main Body
  • Conclusion

Introduction and conclusion in any question are of vital importance. Because if students do not introduce any question at opening of answer or do not conclude it at closing end then it will create a bad impression for the examiner. They must follow the alpha and omega of asked question.

We know that all words have different meanings and they are used in various contexts in questions. Let us discuss those various words that would be asked in an exam and what their meanings could be.

Different Types of Question Asked in Exams


This is very common term. The word define means students are to provide a definition of asked term e.g., Renaissance in mentioned below question. When student are writing about definition they need to state a proper and a precise definition. It should be authentic one and clear in wording. This question is asked in three ways. Examiner can ask definition generally or in students own wording so student is free to put forward his ideas and can choose wording freely according to his choice. He may put other authors’ definitions for reference to strengthen his point of view. When an examiner asks a specific definition by any author, then students are bound to define it according to the author’s ideas. Students may use their own wording but they cannot put their own ideas into the definition.

Q: Define Renaissance in few lines.

Q: Define Renaissance in your own wording.

Q: How John defines Renaissance in his book; “The Medieval Literature”?


Some time an examiner asks students to describe something. It means students have to give complete information about something e.g., how it looks or how it happened. Students have to give a complete description in descriptive format. This question may be asked in this way.

Q: Describe the theme of above picture according to the plot.


The term ‘explain’ means students have to clarify topic detail as how and why. Students have to write the complete detail of the thing or term asked in a question. Things should be mentioned in proper layout and for this chronological order is the suitable form. This question needs thorough details and students should be careful for the proper order. They must make an outline for long answer; distribute it into short sections to avoid mixing of ideas. They should take start from introduction and then main boy and fininally they are to conclude their answer in proper way.


Another way of asking a question is to elaborate something or idea. It means a statement that students have to expand it to make it clearer. They have to explore all areas of it. They have to draw a complete picture and elaborating every segment of that picture. For example, if students are talking the Renaissance Period in England so they are to elaborate every aspect that is involved in the renaissance. Students have to take start from very beginning of the renaissance in Italy and then flourishing in England by university wits and how it got significance in that era.

𝗖𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗔𝗻𝗮𝗹𝘆𝘇𝗲

Such questions are frequently asked in literature to critically analyze the idea, situation, or thing. Sometime students get confused and they start criticizing something asked in question but it never means to criticize anything. It generally means they have to talk about the positive and negative aspect of that thing according to their own thought. For good critical analysis, they should include references by authentic writers to strengthen their point of view. One thing should be kept in mind that do not criticize any author for his negative comments but students are to consider it as it could be true. If one author is praising poetry and second is against it so students should refer both but do not criticize any of them individually but they are to analyze it by comparing both.


Compare means students are to compare one thing with another. Students are to focus on the similarities and dissimilarities between two things. For example, in question, they are asked to compare fiction and drama.

𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗿 𝗢𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗻

This question is typically answered by the students to share his own point of view regarding anything asked in the question. It means that what is the opinion of the student regarding asked question. What are the views of the candidate? Students, in answer, can use the word ‘I’ or ‘according to me’ while giving their opinion.


Demonstrate is a practical term which show how with an example to illustrate. Students are to give a complete demonstration of anything explained by examples.

What is Literary English?

literary english

What is Literary English?

Literary English is a form of English language used for writing literary content, for analyzing a literary writing or for literary criticism. During Medieval Ages, literary English was often placed at an elevated position among Fine Arts. During that time it was very distinctive from the colloquial English, but with the passage of time this distinction was decreased. At current era, there is no much difference between literary and colloquial English. Still there is a distinction between Literary and conversational English.

English is one of the most broadly spoken languages across the globe. It has taken many shapes and registers. Those who want to learn English language as a second language they opt a suitable register for their appropriate domain. For example a learner want to learn English for business around the world he will chose Business English, one who in only migrating to some native country he will learn English for general purpose and those who want to practice their abilities in literary field they will chose literary English.

Some exceptionally well-documented forms of literary writings are the works of Marlowe, William Shakespeare, Sir Francis Bacon, and William Wordsworth. Shakespearean sonnets and plays are one of the classic examples of English literature and studied around the world in most of the universities. Sir Francis Bacon is also prominent classic prose write of his age. These literary works require supplementary effort to understand it. Literary language is rich with figurative language and literary devices such as metaphors, paradoxes, sarcasm, ironies, similes, and many more. On the other hand, Business English is the written and spoken English that is especially for business context and it is proper both in word choice and of the suitable tone for conducting business. In business, you may be required to speak, read, and write in a language that your co-workers, supervisors, and clients can understand quickly and effectively in business context.

Characteristics of Literary English

Structure of Literary English

Literary language is the form of a language used in its literary writing. It has complex sentence structure and lays meaning in its context in literature. Its structure varies according to the literary form. In poetic form, its style is different from prose writing. Further, in one form, like in poetry, it varies its structure according to different sub-form of poetry. In a sonnet its style and structure is different from a heroic couplet. Literary books also have divergent forms depending on sub genre of literature.

Function of Literary English

Literary English is generally used for literary writing or for criticism or analysis on literary work. Even though literary content also do have a function, e.g., to criticize a literary work, to educate general public, to mock a society for its wrong pursuits or even just to entertain a reader. During Medieval Age, Fine Arts was at an elevated position and that era created lot of writers who took English as a tool for literary writings. They used rich language full of literary devices such as similes, metaphors, paradoxes, ironies, sarcasm, and many more. These literary devices are some time called figures of speech.

Click here for Figurative language

An ironic language

Literary English is not clear and state forward like Business English or English for General Purpose. Business English or English for General Purpose are generally free from ironies as these are designed for clear and effective communication while literary English is quite rich with ironies.  For understanding a literary text, a reader has to ponder upon it with full wit and efforts.

An Ambiguous language

People generally accept the view that literary form of English is far more ambiguous and more complicated than non-literary form (Business English or English for General Purpose). In Literary content, a reader cannot rely on surface text only but he has to ponder into the context of writing while on other hand it is not the case in non-literary texts. For example, a market price-table has to be precise in order for people to be able to rely on it and many people using the same market price-table should reach around the same result with common understanding. While on other hand if these ten people read a novel, they will come up with rather different interpretations of what a specific literary text ‘means’ or what it tries to convey.

Descriptive and Indirect language

Literary English does not convey direct meaning but reader has to search for the hidden message in the text. If a literary piece of writing is handed over to various students and they are asked for the message written in that text. All the students will conclude different message from the text depending upon their way of extracting a message from the text.

High Grammar level and Rich Vocabulary

Literary content is rich in vocabulary and carry complex sentence structure. Borrowing is too much in literary writings that make it more complex and difficult to understand for a common reader. Some genres of literature are free from grammatical rules as poetry or drama written in poetic form.

Our main literary articles

  1. What is Literary English?
  2. What is Literature?
  3. Different Types of literature
  4. History of English Literature (Anglo-Saxon Period to Current Era)
  5. What is Metaphysical Poetry?
  6. John Donne as a Metaphysical Poet
  7. Characteristics and History of Sonnet Writing
  8. What is Figurative Language?
  9. Most Commonly Used Figures of Speec