Literalist Snarking

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

This is the technique of putting a sarcastic twist on the more plain meaning of something. Though literal-mindedness is often associated with not understanding sarcasm, in some cases snarking and literal-mindedness can go hand-in-hand.

See also Grammar Nazi, whose more snarky varieties are prone to this. If one acts on the sarcastic twist, it's a Jerkass Genie.

Examples of Literalist Snarking include:


Shooter: I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast!
Happy: You eat pieces of shit for breakfast?


  • Vetinari in Discworld is infamous for this.
    • Terry Pratchett's work is made of this: "Don't let me detain you"; "Throw the book at him"; "I would rather die than betray the emperor", etc.
      • Though the second one was accidental as Sim Vimes realized too late the Carrot was very literal minded, the book was around several thousand pages and about thirty pounds, and they were on a balcony.
    • This example from Going Postal:

Moist: If you shove a broom up my arse, I could probably sweep the floor too!
Vetinari: An excellent idea. Drumknott, do we have a broom closet on this floor?

  • Harry Potter, when he decides to get his snark on, tends toward this variety of snark.

Draco Malfoy: You're dead, Potter.
Harry Potter: Funny, you'd think I'd have stopped walking around...

Live-Action TV

Web Original

"Keep sending me your questions, and I will keep making fun of your punctuation and spelling. I mean, answer them."

Western Animation

Gilda: I'll be watching a hawk.
Pinkie: Why? Can't you watch me like a griffon?

Real Life

  • Voltaire's response when someone told him that coffee was "a slow poison": "I think it must be slow, for I have been drinking it for sixty-five years and am not dead yet."
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