About 20 years ago, (yes, that long ago) it came into fashion to verbally tag irony with one small little word: not. An incredibly useful construction for the obtuse, not could follow any statement to immediately contradict what had been said and indicate that the opposite was true. For example:
Luke Hemsworth is the hottest Hemsworth. Not.
In this sentence, the speaker is making a (very) false statement, but acknowledging and indicating its falsness by using not directly afterwards.
Clearly, Chris is the hottest Hemsworth.
I mean, clearly.
When using oral language, not has limited value. Expressing irony can be done in many other non-verbal ways, including tone, facial expression, and body language. However, in written language, much can be lost without the benefit of physical indicators. In this case, not became a god-send, allowing writers to access irony quickly (and on trend).
However, not then…
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