In the movie "Shrek," Donkey asks Shrek a question to which Shrek replies "yes"; when Donkey asks him, "Really?" Shrek says that he never accepted in the first place. This verbal irony is seen throughout the movie during several instances where Donkey asks Shrek a question.
Verbal irony occurs when the speaker says something contradictory to what they mean. The speaker is often being sarcastic and does so in a way that is intentional. The speaker may say something like, "soft like concrete," when they are speaking about a particularly hard mattress. The speaker usually uses verbal irony in a malicious way.
To discover verbal irony in literature, the reader must be able to recognize the situation. Background knowledge on what is going on in the piece of literature is crucial to understanding verbal irony because the reader may not know that the speaker has a sarcastic nature and may not be able to recognize that the speaker is saying something opposite of what they mean.
Verbal ironies must be used at the appropriate time. If a person uses a verbal irony too soon or too late, the verbal irony will lose the meaning and will often not make any sense.