Home Learn English Teach English MyEnglishClub Home Learn English Teach English MyEnglishClub
Joe's Cafe
EnglishClub : Joe's Cafe : Irony

Joe's Cafe, 24/7 pit stop for ESL learners and teachers | July 2010
Egg's off, bacon's off, bread's off, tea's off. English is on though.


Irony is a situation or state of affairs that seems deliberately opposite to what you expect.

As an example, there are several ironies in the video below. One example of irony is when the police claim that the children cannot be photographed without parental consent and yet those very same children are cadets in an organization that prepares them to kill and be killed. That irony seems to have been lost on the police, who apparently made their claim with a straight face.

(Transcript below)

Can you spot any more ironies?

Transcript (this is the first part only, we will add more soon):

Police: The trouble is, sir, you’re taking photographs of children…

Photographer: As I’m entitled to.

Police: And you’ve been asked to stop, and you’ve failed to do so.

Photographer: You have given no reasonable reason to stop.

Police: You have no power to take photographs of military personnel. Right? When asked a question, all you’ve got to do is answer, all right?

Photographer: I did answer your question. I said what I was doing and…

Police: And it’s no good your taking photographs of my face…

Photographer: I’m entitled to do that…

Police: Right? Because that’s a silliness and [unclear]…

Photographer: Actually what I’m doing is I’m taking pictures of you grabbing my arm with no reasonable reason to [unclear] … you’re taking down my details under what law?

Police: That’s right. We can do that.

Photographer: Under what law? Under what law are you taking my details?

Police: [unclear]

Photographer: My date of birth?

Police: Yes please.

Photographer: I don’t want to give it. Under what law are you taking my details? Can I have my ID back please? Under what law are you taking my details? Listen. This is a public place. OK? There is no restriction on photography in a public place. Now, under what law are you taking my details?

Police: Don’t have to have any law to take your details.

Photographer: Yes, you do … You do need a law to take my details.

Police: At the end of the day, you were identified [unclear]

Photographer: I was, yes, that’s my job.

Police: Yeah.

Photographer: I can. Public place, remember?

Police: Unless they’ve given you permission to do that.

Photographer: No, that’s not true. This is a public place. So are you saying, Sargeant, that in a public place I have to ask permission of every person in my picture?

Police: [unclear]

Photographer: No, that’s not true. This is a public place.

Photographer: No I don’t. I know the law.


Police: However, when you’re asked to stop photographing children, yeah? right? that then becomes a little bit of a grey area, yeah?

Photographer: Well, if it’s a grey area, [Police: They are children.] why am I being detained?

Police: They are child… You’re not being detained.

Photographer: Well then, why did you prevent me from leaving?

Police: Coz you were acting the silly.

Photographer: But that’s detaining.

Police: No you weren’t. You were running around … being stupid

Photographer: No I wasn’t. I was walking away from one of your colleagues, when your colleague grabbed my arm, twisted it and tried to grab my camera

Photographer: I’m entitled to leave because I’ve broken no law. Can I have my ID back please?

Police: Would you like to leave?

Photographer: Yes, I would like to leave.

Police: We would like you to leave, so you can leave.

Photographer: Well, can I have my ID back?

Police: Certainly can …

Photographer: And I’m going to carry on working around this area.

Police: At the moment, at the moment, right, in this area, they’re trying to form up the parade.

Photographer: They’re welcome to do so, and I’m only trying to do my job. Under what law am I being detained?

Police: If you want to go and stay over that side, feel free.

Joe | Saturday, July 10th, 2010 | Filed under Vocabulary

9 Responses to “Irony”

  1. Carlos says:

    Kind of flimsy argument.

  2. Najma Ali says:

    Sorry, I just understand what the word means and your explanation, but I haven’t got what the people in the audio say.

    In other words Iam not good at listining/speaking English. So, have you som advice for me??????????

  3. ESL Blogs says:

    @ Najma Ali: it’s very difficult dialogue to understand because it’s quite fast and with background noise etc. We’re putting a transcript up for you to read. That should help :-)

  4. sandra says:

    I can’t find any ironic atittude here:S it seems a little bit confused this dialogue

  5. max says:

    A confused and poor representation of the word “irony” This suposed to teach English? Now that’s irony.

  6. nadira says:

    Through this dialogue , I understand the irony of the photographer for not being able to exercise, what he freely feel is his right

  7. wafa mt says:

    the photographer suposed to respect the roll of police require it,and there is no irony because police trys to protect every one in there

  8. nikunj says:

    Still i don’t undesstand the meaning of irony

  9. Sara says:

    Irony ? Let’s say it is my birthday . Well , I buy 10 cakes and my friends eats all of them leaving me not even one to taste . The irony is that I bought the cakes and haven;t ate none .
    Or .
    0utside is pouring down and I am wet through and I carry with me an umbrella which I don;t use . The irony is that I have an umbrella and yet I am wet .
    Irony is when things happens amusingly the opposite that is meant to happen or that is usually expected to . Irony is also a cleaver way of saying amusing things by correlating opposite ideas :
    “Pork chops again ? you know how much I love meat !” says Dan . ” Oh , honey , I forgot you’re vegetarian ”
    “Tomorrow we’ll have another classes of classic literature which I know how much you enjoy ! ” says the teacher with a broad grin .
    “oh, literature again !” whispers in the classroom .

Leave a Comment

Privacy & Terms | Contact | Report error
© 1997-2014 EnglishClub