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What's Self-deprecation?

Have you ever heard of self-deprecation? Before you start thinking about your answer, I’ll give you an example to help you relate quickly. Now you remember how much people who didn’t know how to play football were mocked in junior school and high school. Assume you are back in high school. You make fun of someone’s poor skills in football. Instead of the person you are mocking fighting back or defending himself, he answers back by making fun of himself (or embracing the mockery). Is that familiar? Now let’s take a look at the definition of self-deprecation.

The definition of self-deprecation

Self-deprecation refers to a type of sarcasm that involves belittling, making fun of, or mocking oneself. Self-deprecation is usually used in instances where one is being mocked or criticized. It is used humorously.

The uses of self-deprecation

To add humor to work

The writer can use self-deprecation to make a literary work humorous. Self-deprecation when used appropriately can have a powerful comic effect.

To reveal information about a character

The writer can use self-deprecation to reveal information about a character that the reader does not know. However, the writer should do this humorously or sarcastically.

To make your audience intrigued

Self-deprecation can provide intrigue to a writer’s work. How? We know how powerful the effect of humor is on a reader. The humorous effect of self-deprecation can make your audience intrigued by your work.

Self-deprecation has been in use for a long time. Some of the most influential people on our planet have been known to use self-deprecation. An example is J. F. Kennedy. During his presidential campaign, people criticized and accused him of many things. Some even claimed that J. F. Kennedy’s rich father was going to rig the election and buy his son votes. J. F. Kennedy later on at an event in 1958 spoke about the claims. He said, “I just received the following wire from my generous Daddy; ‘Dear Jack, don’t buy a single vote more than is necessary. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide.”

J. F Kennedy used self-deprecation to debunk the allegations about his father’s intentions. You can see how humorous self-deprecation can be when used appropriately, as in J. F. Kennedy’s case.

Examples of sentences with the use of self-deprecation

Jada regularly goes for training at a local basketball club’s court. He only gets time to train with the club when schools have closed for the holiday. This is the main reason why he has not made it to the first squad of the club. Two of Jada’s friends, Rick and Adam, are members of the club’s first squad. On one occasion Jada is given a chance to play for the club and he plays so well. Rick and Adam are not happy about this and so they mock Jada. They say, “Jada thought the referee was going to award him points for dribbling the ball.” Then Jada answers them, “That’s also true, although the main reason why I kept dribbling was that I barely knew where the basket was.”

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Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Keith Mbuya