This article on the science of sarcasm from the Smithsonian website has got me thinking again about the difference between spoken and written language.

Although it’s a sophisticated aspect of communication, researchers found that the ability to detect sarcasm is developed in us at quite a young age. It’s expressed through body language, pitch, tone, volume, pauses, duration and punctuation – the last of which is the only one we can use in writing. It’s no wonder someone invented the interrobang.

So, while we learn as children to recognise spoken sarcasm, written sarcasm is much harder to spot and easily misinterpreted. To be used carefully, I’d suggest!