how to be sarcastic in german?

silly post but if i wanted to be sarcastic in English I could say "I like this car...not!". but in German this seems to be the proper way of saying it "Ich mag dieses auto nicht"

December 20, 2016


Sarcasm is a little more subtle than simply placing 'not' at the end of a sentence. It's meant to be indirect and cutting. What you have there is rather obvious. I think it's the complex American equivalent of the proud European tradition of sarcasm. :)

I'll let Oscar Wilde do the talking, as he was the master:

"Some cause happiness wherever they go- others, whenever they go."

“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence.”

Speaking to a woman who he disliked immensely:

Woman: "Oh, Mr Wilde! I passed by your house this morning!"

Wilde: "Thank you so much."

Sarcasm is all about tone and intent, so follow those guidelines and you should be fine. High-quality sarcasm leaves the listener wondering if you were actually trying to be offensive or not. :)

December 20, 2016

I think the not is either a middle America or West Coast America thing. I assure you that NYers generally value high-quality sarcasm. I consider it our first language.

December 21, 2016
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Sarcasm is something highly cultural, meaning different cultures have different ways of being sarcastic as well as different markers for it. This is the main reason for the myth that “people from (insert random country) don’t get sarcasm”. In fact they do, just not the foreign kind of it.

“Ich mag dieses Auto nicht” would be understood literally (i.e. as a non-sarcastic “I don’t like this car“) unless there is a long pause before the nicht, and even then it sounds like a teenager desperately trying to be cool by imitating an English speech pattern. We don’t mark sarcasm that obviously by putting a marker at the end of the sentence. Instead, sarcasm has to be discerned from context and sentence intonation. Which is why it’s dangerous to use it in writing since the intonation cues are lost there.

In your particular case I would say something like “Wow, das ist aber ein schönes Auto…“ (Why, what a beautiful car…) in a sarcastic tone.

December 20, 2016

No idea, but point 11 here has suggestions:

Surprisingly disappointing.

December 20, 2016

Isn't the not at the end how children try to be sarcastic?

December 21, 2016

My advise: don't try to be sarcastic in a language that you don't master. If you want to make humour, stick to silly jokes. Any attempt of subtle humour will usually end up sounding arrogant and rude (or downright stupid) rather that funny, and you don't want to sound arrogant, do you?

December 21, 2016

As mentioned in my first post, it wasn't serious. I was just intrigued that is all

December 21, 2016
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