Other Stock Phrases

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

This page is not for phrases that have their own page and spot on the Stock Phrases index. If it doesn't already have a page, then you stick it here. If it does, then you don't. And if it gets a page, take it off this list.

Examples of Other Stock Phrases include:


  • "After them!"
  • "Ah, <name>! At last we meet face-to-face!" The hero and his distant nemesis encounter each other in person for the first time; usually said by the villain.
  • "All in a day's work!"
  • "All in good time, my dear. All in good time."
  • "All's well that ends well.": The title line of a Shakespeare play. Used either:
    • Honestly, to show that, despite all the troubles they went through, the protagonists finally have what they want, and life is good, or:
    • Satirically, to show that, even though the main plot has been wrapped up, there's a dangling thread the protagonists never took care of. (They don't usually care.)
    • Was the last line ever said on Another World, and was the last line of an ep of Detention.
  • "All the cool kids are doing it!"
    • It's pretty much impossible to use this one straight anymore, due to its use in anti-drug and peer-pressure resistance education back in The Eighties.
  • "And as for you..."
  • "And if I refuse?" Response to being asked to cooperate or come quietly.
  • "Anyone get the [license] number of that truck?" The most common form of Non Sequitur Thud. Said after taking a walloping of some kind, usually one that knocked the recipient unconscious. In a low-tech/fantasy world, "truck" can be replaced with "Donkey Cart," "Chariot," "Elephant," "Dragon," etc.
  • "Are you all right?" "I will be." Used when a character has undergone a traumatic experience, to illustrate that a character is getting over their experience without cheapening the meaning of the Aesop by shortening the adjustment process.
  • "Are you calling me an X?" Typically used to call out somebody making more-or-less veiled accusations of just that. Since 'X' is usually something bluntly unflattering such as "coward" or "liar", this also plays on the common social impulse to be tactful first and honest second in order to get the accuser to temporarily shut up or at least backpedal while flustered.
  • "Are you happy now?" (or, alternatively, "I hope you're happy." or "I hope you're proud of yourself." or "I hope you're satisfied.")
    • Often a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero situation.
    • Multiple repetitions of this line or variations thereof make up much of the entire first half of the showstopper "Defying Gravity" from the musical Wicked.
  • "As an X ... you make an excellent Y."
  • "As they say in [country], '[phrase from a different country].'"

"As we say in Vienna, 'Ole!'"


"So, as they say in China, 'arrrrivederci!'"
"As they say in Mexico, 'dosvedanya!' Down there, that's two vedanyas."





  • "Damn, I'm good."
  • "... Dead to me."
    • This phrase usually has "you're" or some sort of noun and "is" before it.
  • "Define (noun)."
  • "Destroy them!" Said by cheesy Saturday Morning Cartoon villains.
  • "Did <name> send you?" "<name> doesn't know I'm here." Usually spoken when the second speaker comes to the first (usually the villain) to make a deal on behalf of their love interest/best friend/etc.
    • Subverted in the Conan story "The Scarlet Citadel," where the guy making the deal turns out to be a former tribesman out for vengeance for a brother killed during Conan's pirate days, where he was known as "Amra." He meets his end at the fangs of Tsotha's snake Satha before he can kill Conan.
  • "Does your mother know you're out?" Asked when someone isn't deemed tough enough—or old enough—for the context. (Averted and Lampshaded in Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe (1882) when Phyllis asks Strephon if his immortal fairy mother is aware of their engagement.)
  • "Do you know who I am?" Said by the arrogant famous/powerful villain.
    • "Should I?"
  • "Do you like what you see?" Usually spoken by a lingerie-clad (or nude) Femme Fatale as she prepares to seduce (or outright rape) the hero, perhaps after her Dress Hits Floor.
  • "Do you think he/she/they bought it?" Quick way of letting the audience know that whatever they just did was staged for another character's benefit.
  • "Don't call me, I'll call you." — The classic, all-purpose brush-off.
  • "Don't call me 'Mr. <name>' — I look around for my father whenever I hear 'Mr. <name>'." (Inversion of They Call Me Mister Tibbs)
  • "Don't call me 'sir'! I work for a living!" — often seen in a military context, when a non-com is addressed with excessive deference by a green soldier.
  • "Don't just stand there, do something!"
    • Occasionally inverted to "Don't do something, just stand there!" for comedy purposes.
  • "Don't just stand there, run!"
  • "Don't look now, but..."
  • "Don't mess with Mother Nature." — Any "nature runs amuck" movie trailer. Or margarine commercials from the 1970s.
  • "Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining." Popularized, but not coined, by Judge Judy.
    • The inevitable The Simpsons parody: "Don't spit on my cupcake and tell me it's frosting." — Judge Constance Harm
  • "Don't tell me [unpleasant or unwelcome fact]". "Okay, I won't tell you."
    • Sometimes the second person tells the first person said unwelcome fact followed by the first person replying "I told you not to tell me that." (This version was popularized by Get Smart.)
    • A specific form of this is: "Don't tell me that [character] is/will [action]". Often followed by either:
      • A Gilligan Cut to [character] doing [action].
      • Bob saying "Okay, [character] is/will not [action]." Which in turn can be followed by the Gilligan Cut and Alice complaining "You lied."
  • "Don't worry, I'll/we'll be right behind you!" Usually said by the Lovable Coward to The Hero when faced with threatening situations, usually followed by the speakers running and taking cover behind something, or hiding behind the hero.

Sallah: Very dangerous. You go first.

  • "Don't worry! I know this [country|city|land|terrain] like the back of my hand." Sometimes subverted or spoofed by having a character say this, then examine the back of their hand and say "Wow! I never noticed that before!"
    • In another common spoof, the other person says, "That's the front of your hand (you're looking at)."
    • And yet another spoof features them running headfirst into something immediately afterward.



  • "First time for everything."—Especially in (smug) response to "Nobody has ever succeeded in this task!", "I have never been defeated!", etc.
  • "From up here, they all look like ants!"—Said from atop a skyscraper or airplane. Cue the giant ants.
  • "Fuck you."


  • "Gee, you think?" Used sarcastically in response to a statement by the designated Captain Obvious.
    • Or for a bolder statement: "No shit, Sherlock!"
  • "Get off my lawn!" Battle cry of bitter and cantankerous old men and women. Increasingly used ironically by characters and people realizing they're older than they thought.
  • "Get the hell out of there!" The nuke's about to go off, what are you doing standing around?! Get the hell out of there!
  • "Gives a whole new meaning to X." A flag that some formerly innocent expression has now become a Double Entendre thanks to someone's actions.
  • "God, I missed you."
  • "Good luck... you'll need it."
  • "Good thing I landed on my head..."
  • "Goodbye, cruel world!" Pre-suicide stock phrase. Usually satiric.
    • Veronica Mars has a faked "sucide" using this phrase, where Veronica had previously discussed the idea that using this phrase would be a good way to commit a perfect murder in a criminology paper.
  • "Great, JUST, great." said by the more pessimistic character after a disaster/failure, followed by the level headed leader telling them to calm down and formulating a new plan.


  • An emphasized "had" (so as to mean the past tense of "have"): Without saying so many words, a character is disappointed say, that a villain he was chasing somehow got away when he was so confident that, well, he had him (think of Arnold Schwarzenegger complaining to a horse in a scene from True Lies after it refuses to chase a baddie who's just jumped across a street, airborne, on a motorcycle).
    • An emphasized "was" appears in the original Casino Royale novel—it's virtually the last line of the book and is used by Bond when he's informing his superiors of Vesper Lynd's suicide and the fact she was a double.
  • "Hands Up!" Said by anyone with a gun. The phrase isn't even needed sometimes; if a character sees someone with a gun they'll automatically raise their hands with no prompting. (See also Stick'Em Up, which is a Sub-Trope of this.)
  • "Hang on!" "To what?!"
  • "Has anyone ever told you..."
  • "Hello, father/mother/brother/sister.": Whenever someone confronts an estranged family member, especially when they're on opposite ends of the good/evil scale. Usually delivered in a mocking tone.
    • Just before their climactic battle in the second season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy greets Angelus with a bitter "Hello, lover."
    • Used before the climactic duel in the Transformers.
  • "He/She/They will be back." Said by a Genre Savvy character after someone opts towards Refusal of the Call.
  • "He's/She's/They're getting away!" Announced by heroes or villains when the other side is escaping.
  • "(He/she) is better than I am." (pause) "If you ever tell (him/her) I said that, I'll kill you."
  • "Hey, why don't we put on a show?" A signature line from the classic Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland musicals of the 1930s, but often used elsewhere (sometimes as homage, sometimes as parody) whenever a group of kids/teens in a more innocent time need to raise money. Frequently followed up with "My [relative of choice] has a barn we can use!"
  • "Hi, I'm X.": The opposite of "Who are you and what have you done with..", X is making the point that anyone surprised by his/her current actions must never have met him/her.
  • "How about we make things a little more interesting?" Said whenever a character wants to turn a friendly game into a wagered one.
  • "How bad could it be?" Hint: It's very bad. That's what they get for Tempting Fate.
  • "How can we ever repay you?"
  • "How could I have been so (stupid/blind)?": A character sees the light, so to speak, about whatever he's been doing for the duration of the story.
  • "How could you?" Common line uttered by the betrayed. The other character might answer by explaining how he could and did.
  • "How dare you!"
  • "How does that make sense?" A specific flavor of Lampshade Hanging.
  • "How do I know I can trust you?" "You don't." Common in an Enemy Mine situation.
  • "How do I know you'll keep your word?" (Alternately, "How do we know he'll keep his word?") The obvious question the hero(es) should be asking (and often do) in a Hostage for McGuffin or similar situation. The most common response is more or less equivalent to the one Khan gave in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: "Oh, I've given you no word to keep, Admiral. In my judgment, you simply have no alternative." "What choice do we have?", or "You don't" are alternate versions. In dramatic terms, this means that the hero now has karmic permission to use any kind of trickery on the villain necessary to regain the advantage.
  • "How do you play this game, then?" Part of The Magic Poker Equation. As stated in Witches Abroad "When an obvious innocent sits down with three experienced card sharpers and says 'How do you play this game, then?', someone is about to be shaken down until their teeth fall out." It also works with pool.
  • "How hard can it be?" and/or "What could possibly go wrong?": Whenever a character comments on the apparent easiness of a task, it almost invariably turns out to be stunningly difficult. Suddenly things as simple as buying milk become epic quests or even life-or-death experiences. See all of the tropes in Tempting Fate, such as Retirony.
    • Sometimes used satirically after listing a series of incredibly difficult and/or obviously fatal tasks. "We just have to sneak into a guarded fortress at noon, find the one person we're looking for, and convince them to betray the love of their life. How hard can it be?" Occasionally this is not intended satirically, to illustrate that the speaker is either clueless, arrogant to the point of insanity, or Just That Good.
    • Often the Deadpan Snarker or the Literal-Minded character will answer the question, and recount the things that could possibly go wrong. The other character will angrily remind them that it was a rhetorical question. (However, using this joke will provide some safety from this particular Chekhov's Gun actually going off.)
  • "How you holding up?": After some disaster or other bad thing has befallen a character. Done to death in Smallville.
  • "Hurry, hurry, hurry! Step right up and..."
    • There's no record of any carnival talker (not "barker") ever yelling "Hurry, hurry, hurry! Step right up!" The "cant" was always much more elaborate, which is part of why the talker was the best-paid man on the lot.


  • "I almost feel sorry for him. Almost." Speaking about a nasty fate that the subject very much deserves.
  • "I am a man of my word."
  • "I am not jealous!" I'm heading right for a Green-Eyed Epiphany.
  • "I blame X." Everyone knows it was your fault, but you want to say something funny in a last ditch effort to take the blame off of you.
  • "I can't do this without you" often together with "I love you so much." this usually means the loved one is about to eat it, and the hero will be doing it without them.
  • "I'd die if anyone sees me like this." Commonly said by the Bratty Teenage Daughter. Usually followed by someone seeing her like this.
  • "I deserved that." Said when acknowledging, however grudgingly, the truth of an argument or insult. Common in Soap Opera or Family Drama arguments.
  • "I didn't come all this way... *pained gasp* just to die here!" And if it's a villainous character, guess what? They die!
  • "I don't have time for this!" Usually said by The Hero as he's becoming bored or frustrated taking down all the Evil Minions between him and the Big Bad. Alternatively, the protagonist yells this sentence while he is trying to get something important done but people keep bothering him with trivial things.
  • "I don't know why I'm telling you this." Standard Hand Wave for getting a stranger involved in the plot.
  • "I don't think, I know." "I don't think you know, either."
  • "I eat X for breakfast!" A common type of Badass Boast.
  • "If he could do it, then so can I!"
  • "I know a guy." Or sometimes, "I know a guy who knows a guy."
  • "If these walls could talk...": Your stock phrase for an Evidence Scavenger Hunt. Here's a straight use, from CSI.
  • "If you were a man, I'd...," and the invariable response, "If you were a man..."
  • "If you were, you wouldn't ask": The inevitable reply to a character wondering if they're insane, thoughtless, evil, or otherwise Not So Different from the villain.
  • "If you were anyone else...." A character is informed by another that s/he only gets away with something because they are them. A good example is what Worf says after Picard accuses him of being a coward in First Contact.
  • "If you're [reading|watching] this, I'm most likely dead."
  • "I got to get me one of those!" Jokingly said by a character upon encountering some incredibly awesome but wholly implausible weapon or device (Will Smith in Independence Day, Commissioner Gordon reacting to the Batmobile in Batman Begins).
  • "I had nothing to do with this!"
  • "I have a plan." Usually a sign you should run away—fast.
  • "I have a prescription for that!" Said by anyone caught popping pills.
  • "I have a reputation to maintain." Said by the Jerk with a Heart of Gold who prefers to be known as a straight Jerkass.
  • "I heard that!" "You were supposed to!"
  • "I hope I'm wrong, because otherwise..." aaaaand.....cut to a different scene. Note that the thing-too-terrible-to-contemplate that is the subject of this line always, always happens. See also Unspoken Plan Guarantee.
  • "I knew that." No they didn't.
  • "I know that, and you know that, but he doesn't know that."
  • "I know what is best for you." Usually the one who says it is misinformed. If they're not misinformed, they're often malevolent.
  • "I wouldn't do that if I were you."
  • "I'll believe it when I see it." Used by the skeptic. Most often, the thing he won't believe turns out to be true.
  • "I'll deal with you later." Usually a villain's response to a Hero's Sidekick's snarky comments that usually translates as "You piss me off too and you'll pay for it, but I have more important business for now."
  • "I'll do it, or my name isn't..."
    • Occasionally inverted by the character finishing the phrase with somebody else's name.
  • "I'll give you three guesses, and the first two don't count." (Said when the answer is so painfully obvious that no one with half a brain should need more than the one guess, hence the first two being worthless.)
  • "I'll never wash (these clothes/this body part) again": Something romantic happens to a character involving his/her clothes/body part. Examples: Doug holding Patty's arm (Doug), Arnold hugging Helga (Hey Arnold!!, "Arnold's Hat"), and there's also a variation in Hey Arnold!!, "It Girl", involving Helga shoving Eugene.
    • Subverted in The Simpsons, where, after Bart declares this about his hand, we cut to ten minutes later, where we see it's become incredibly dirty.
    • Similarly in the Discworld novel Jingo, Nobby says he'll never wash his hankerchief again, then blows his nose ("It still bends, see?")
    • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Spike says this after Rarity kisses his cheek. He's serious about it, as a week later, the lipstick from the kiss (along with random accumulated dirt) is still on his cheek.
    • One episode of Cow and Chicken has the latter declaring never to wash his eyeball again.
  • "I'll sleep when I'm dead," or "Sleep is for the dead." May be countered with "If you don't sleep, you are/will be dead!"
  • "I love you!" "You don't know what love is!" Alternate replies along the lines of "Not enough." or "I actually used to believe that..." are also common.
  • "I'm gonna pretend I didn't hear/see that." Standard response to Too Much Information.
  • "I'm gonna regret this."
  • "I'm gonna write a number down on this piece of paper..."
  • "I'm in." (When The Cracker or the Playful Hacker breaks that last layer of security on a system. Often said within seconds of claiming that the security is extremely sophisticated, and will be hard to defeat.)
    • Alternate usage: X is expressing hesitation over a daring/dangerous plan. The convincer throws in an irresistible perk. Cue this line. Example: Jayne from the Firefly episode "Heart of Gold" upon learning that the people the crew are trying to help are whores.
  • "I'm just resting my eyes." Cue snoring.
  • "I'm just sayin'..." trailing off to an awkward pause. It usually follows some harsh criticism disguised as friendly advice, in a feeble attempt to prevent hard feelings.
  • "I'm just so angry all the time." Spoken by many an angsty teenage boy. Predominately when the writers need to illustrate the character to be conflicted but can't think of anything better to have him say.
  • "I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what this is all about."
  • "I'm too young to die!" Or, in more comedic settings, "I'm too pretty to die!"

Eddy': I'm too young - and handsome - to die!


Sokka: I'm too young to die!
Old Man: I'm not, but I still don't wanna!


Moddy: I'm too beautiful to die!
Rattus: And I'm too smart!

  • "I never asked for this." The main character has an incredible power/gift/ability but the writers want to make things seem angsty? Cue this phrase.
  • "In my country we have a saying..."
  • "I remember it like it happened yesterday." Often followed by "That's because it did happen yesterday" or "It happened today."
  • "I said sit down!"
  • "Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?" The standard quip by anyone under a great deal of pressure, especially as a result of trying to conceal lustful thoughts. Or maybe the building is on fire.
  • "Is it time yet?! Is it time yet?!" (Not yet! Not yet!) A variation on Are We There Yet?.
  • "I suppose you're all wondering why I've gathered you here today..."
  • "It Can't Happen Here"
  • "It doesn't have to end this way!"
  • "I think (s)he's dead already." Often uttered near the end of a killing where the killer is Pummeling the Corpse.
  • "I think we lost them." Often uttered moments before the bad guys reappear. A common example of Tempting Fate.
  • "I Thought You Were Dead." Used after Disney Deaths and other Not Quite Dead moments.
    • Often followed with "I got better."
  • "It may be a (noun phrase), but it's my (noun phrase)." Often rendered as "He/She may be...", where the noun phrase is something derogatory.
    • Real Life example (allegedly, anyway): Franklin D. Roosevelt of Anastasio Somoza Garcia; "He may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."
  • "I Told You So." Spoken by the Genre Savvy or the Deadpan Snarker after Hilarity Ensues. Includes the following variations:
    • "I hate to say 'I told you so,' but I told you so."
    • "I hate to say it, but... hmmm, actually I don't. I told you so!"
  • "It worked(?)", "It actually works!", or "I can't believe it worked". Said when the plan that sounds Crazy Enough to Work, does. Ditto the insane invention that really does work.
  • "It's a bird! It's a plane!"—Due to Popcultural Osmosis.
  • "It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it."
  • "It's a gift...and a curse." Stock line for the Defective Detective, reminding everyone that their Holmesian acuity comes at a price. Popularized by Monk.
    • Used in Spider-Man: "This is my gift. This is my curse."
  • "It's a trap!"
  • "It's beautiful!"—Usually said by a female character when she receives a gift.
  • "It's dead." / "Could you please not use the word 'dead'?" Exchange that takes place at that point in a horror movie when someone tries to phone for help.
  • "It's going to blow!" - just before the explosion.
  • "It's got to work!" (or "It has to work!"). Because if it doesn't work, they're dead.
  • "It's our anniversary!" followed by "..." and "YOU FORGOT, DIDN'T YOU." or some variation on that.
  • "It's no use, Johnny. I'm done for. You save yourself." From classic WWII films, the soon-to-be-martyred hero urges his friend to escape the oncoming enemy while he bleeds out. Sometimes results in the martyr being picked up and carried to medical aid, though.
  • "It's not about the (trivial thing)!" Said when it's time to discuss What's Going Wrong in This Relationship.
  • "It's our only hope!"
  • "It's over (between us)." Standard breakup line. See Let's Just Be Friends for the more polite version.
  • "It's so hard to get good help these days." Usually by the head villain regarding his bumbling Evil Minions (often with regard to the one he's just killed). See Surrounded by Idiots.
  • "It's the right thing to do."
  • "It was all just a huge misunderstanding." Openly uttered at the very end of cliche sitcoms. See Three Is Company.
  • "I've done it before and I can do it again!"
  • "I've got a bad feeling about this.". Featured in all six Star Wars movies and several tie-in titles. Generally considered/acknowledged to be an homage when seen in a more recent show.
  • "I was afraid you were gonna say that."
  • "I was this close" (to achieving something): with the "this" accompanied by the appropriate one hand gesture. Without the hand gesture "this" is changed to "so". Either way, the character knows almost doesn't count, and lets others know it. Made famous by Get Smart, where it took the form "Missed it by that much". (The trope Missed Him by That Much is related In Name Only.)


  • "Just where do you think you're going?"
  • "Just relax, it'll be okay."


  • "Kill me! Go ahead, do it!" says the villain, and as always, the hero will rescue them from the ledge/put down the weapon without fail.
  • "(Shut up and) Kiss me, you fool!"


  • "Let's all do X." "All right, yeah, X sounds great! ... What's X?"
  • "Let's dance." The confident good guy accepting the inevitable fight that's about to break out. Anime dubs also use this to translate I Am Your Opponent.
  • "Let's get outta here!" Right before an obvious exit from a scene. Has been said to appear in 78% of all films ever made, but sources for this statistic are dubious at best.
  • "Let's finish this."
  • "Let's not and say we did."
  • "Let's pretend I don't know what that means." The Watson to Mr. Exposition. If it's the sidekick saying it, they may try to pretend they're not the ones in the dark, along the lines of, "Let's say the Hero doesn't know what the Techno Babble device does."
  • "Let's rock and roll."
  • "Let me slip into something more comfortable." Spoken by a seductress right before she changes into lingerie, often behind a see-through screen. This can be parodic, since the lingerie sometimes looks more uncomfortable than the original clothing.
  • "Let them come." Spoken by the villain (often of the Evil Overlord persuasion) to his far-more-sensible underling when the heroes are on their way. Sometimes, it's because they're leading the heroes into a trap. Other times, it's basically a cheat based on the bad guy's unyielding arrogance to let the heroes get as far as the front door.
  • "Like herding cats." Used to describe something that's difficult but not impossible to do.
  • "A little help here? Anyone?!"
  • "Lock and load." followed by cocking a large gun.
  • "Look out! He's got a bomb/gun/knife!"
  • "(series) loves this trope." Used on this wiki in lists of examples, to describe series (games, whatever) that use the same trope several times.
    • And if that's all it says, it should have a "{{context}}" tag immediately following it.


  • "medic..." Whimpered by the victim of Amusing Injuries while he lays in a mangled heap upon the ground.
  • "More tea, vicar?" A Discredited Trope these days, but in seventies Brit Coms, the standard way of distracting The Vicar from whatever hilarity is ensuing.
  • "The more you buy, the more you save." (Advertising)
  • "My body is a temple." International law dictates that this line must always be followed by a suggestion that a more appropriate comparison might be to an amusement park. Alternate comeback is "Yeah, the Temple of Doom."
  • "My door is always open." Extra points if the actual door is shut shortly afterwards.
  • "My, my, what have we here?" Usually said by older good characters, or occasionally the villain from afar.
  • "My patience is growing thin." Spoken by many an Evil Overlord after repeated attempts to do whatever have proven futile.
  • "My work here is done."


  • "Never again." Phrase used to emphasize someone's oath to never allow an incident ever again.
  • "Never leave home without it." Catch Phrase of the Crazy Prepared.
  • "Never send an X to do a Y's job." Phrase said when someone has to do something that another person fails to. "Y" is frequently "a man."
  • "No, it couldn't be." Catch Phrase for the Master of Delusion.
  • "No more Mister Nice Guy!"
  • "NO! PLEASE!" shouts the heroine after being captured by the Big Bad and presumably taken to his lair to have things done to her, just seconds before the hero busts in.
  • "No, this is not a prank!" See Cassandra Truth.
  • "No trial for us, we're for stringing him up right away!" The Old West lynch mob streamlines the legal process.
  • "Not just no, but hell no!"
  • "Not where, when." Said by one time traveler after the less experienced companion asks "Where are we?"
  • "Nothing human could have done this!" Used in horror movies on discovering a savagely mutilated corpse.
  • "Now if you will excuse me, I have a <noun> to <verb>!"
  • "Now I've seen everything." Said by a miscellaneous character on seeing the ridiculous culmination of ridiculous events. Used to be followed by the character's suicide until the Media Watchdogs put a stop to that.
  • "Nobody said it would be easy".


  • "... of the ____shire Smiths." That is, the old-money ones. Sometimes shortened to "... of those Smiths."
  • "Oh no! Not Cool and Unusual Punishment! Anything but Cool and Unusual Punishment!"
  • "Oh no! Not Plan X! Anything but Plan X!......what's Plan X?" Common joke cartoon writers still think is funny.
  • "Oh no... they got to you too!" Mostly used by conspiracy theorists referring to skeptics, or friends/family who are no longer as patient or understanding as they used to be.
  • "Oh, please, Judge -- my Tony, he's a good boy." The mobster's mother pleads for leniency for her child. Most often seen in 1930s and 40s dramas, more often parodied today.
  • "Oh yes, well done." Said in a mocking tone. Occasionally accompanied by Sarcastic Clapping.
  • "Okay...okay, okay, okay, okay..." While freaking out as a Survival Mantra.
  • "Okay then..." Standard response to Too Much Information, Digging Yourself Deeper, Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick and other tropes of that ilk, generally indicates a Sarcasm Failure.
  • "Olé!" Response to any lively music that sounds even vaguely Spanish.
  • "... once and for all!"—how thoroughly the hero is going to defeat the villain, or vice-versa. (It always grates on this editor's ears, for some reason)
  • "One, two, three, one, two, three..." Counting out the beats of 3/4 time is the perfect way to set people waltzing.
  • "One-way ticket" to someplace that you wouldn't want to go, e.g., "a one-way ticket to jail."
  • "...Or not." Used by a character who knows they're being ignored. For example, "We could always take the back road! ...Or not."
    • Also used when unexpected circumstances prevent that action. "Hey guys! I know a faster way. Let's take this bridge." *UFO crashes, destroying bridge* "Or not."
  • "Out of my way!" when someone's running, usually through a crowded area like a hallway.
  • "Over my dead body." Ironic and serious.
    • Traditional responses include "That can be arranged," "That's the plan," or "Have it your way then," followed by a gunshot. There's also the slightly less evil "If necessary."


  • "Play time is over." Often used by villains to indicate that they're going to start taking the fight seriously, and that the heroes had better do the same or else. Kind of like an inverse Let's Get Dangerous.
    • And of course, from the video game that manages to directly use so so many stock phrases completely straight: "Play time is over, Star Fox!"
  • "Please don't shoot my dog, he couldn't have eaten those sheep!"
  • "Please tell me you're kidding..."


  • "Rape isn't about sex, it's about power." Often Universally Truth in Television.
  • "Remember where we parked." Usually a comedic phrase that either follows parking the automobile/ship in a crowded or unusual spot.
  • "Rest in Pieces". Back when this joke was used for the first time, it might be amusing. It's not amusing when you hear it millions of times, though.
  • "The rest is history." Used when the speaker expects the listener to already know what happened.
  • "Right, let's do this."
  • "Rules are meant to be broken."


  • "Shaken, not stirred" or variations thereof. Either used to order a drink or to comment that a character has had a rough predicament but survived.
    • In The West Wing, Bartlet comments that Bond is "ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it".
    • Fabulously subverted by the very franchise that birthed it: Daniel Craig's Bond orders a martini and is asked if he wants it shaken or stirred. He snarls, "Do I look like I give a damn?"
  • "Oh, shut up...": Usually said after an Incredibly Lame Pun or a lame Chew Bubblegum line.
  • "A simple no would have sufficed.": An indignant response to a dismissal or rejection that is overly demeaning, verbose, or both.
  • "Slowly I turn -- step by step, inch by inch..."
  • "Someone... or something..." Used to identify that an act may have been done by something paranormal.
    • When Harry Dresden used it, Action Girl Karrin Murphy calls him on it, saying, "You've been waiting years to use that one, haven't you?" Dresden, being the Smart Ass that he is, shrugs and mentions that opportunities don't arise as often as you'd think.
  • "Something's coming." Often said with great solemnity by a Magical Native American or other Noble Savage, sometimes with ear to the ground.
  • "So there I was..."
  • "Sorry, but duty calls..." What a cop/military hero says to a pretty girl he's dating that he has to get back to work. She usually is gracious enough to leave it at that.
  • "Stick that in your (noun) and (verb) it." Most commonly used after making a point to rub it in. Original form is almost certainly "Stick that in your pipe and smoke it," but modern usage plays it as a mad libs.
  • "Stop me anytime." Someone is depressed or angry with themselves and starts listing all of their own failings, expecting the person they're talking to to break in and disagree. If the other person just lets them continue, they get annoyed and say this.
  • "Stop the presses." Originally related to reporters have a new story that they just have to have in the next edition, it's rarer for use in actual news (actually stopping the presses is damned expensive and takes ages to start back up) and is used generally for any news that may need people to stop what they are doing.
    • Subverted in Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy episode "Truth or Ed" where Eddy yells this when he hears that the school newspapers actually have profit.
  • "Says the X..." In forms like "Says the X to the Y" or "Says the X who/that did whatever."


  • "Tell me something I don't know." A sarcastic response to someone playing Captain Obvious; about half the time, Captain Obvious will retort with some obscure or personal fact that the sarcastic person couldn't be expected to know.
  • "Tell my (wife/fiancee/girlfriend) I love her." "Tell her yourself.": Exchange often heard when the first speaker is about to go into a very dangerous situation (see also If I Do Not Return). Also sometimes used if the first speaker is severely wounded and the second speaker is trying to convince him/her that his/her wounds aren't fatal (often when this happens the wounds are indeed fatal, and the first speaker dies in the second speaker's arms).
    • Subverted in Fables, where the dying man says: "Tell each of my girlfriends I said her name last."
    • Also subverted in the Futurama episode "Brannigan Begin Again": Neutral Leader: "If I don't survive, tell my wife: Hello."
    • Wonderfully subverted in No Country for Old Men, near the start of the film.

Llewellyn, speaking to his wife: "If I don't come back, tell my Mom I love her."
Llewellyn's wife: "Your mama's been dead for years..."
Llewellyn: "Oh. Then I guess I'll tell her myself."

    • Nicely subverted in the reboot of Star Trek, in which Spock starts one of these and Kirk cuts him off—to assure him the plan's going to work.
  • "That was too close.": Spoken just after a near miss by a projectile, a last-second disarming of a bomb, etc. Sometimes seen in a two-character variation, as "That was close." "Yeah, a little too close."
  • "That went well.": Sentence used to break the appalled hush after something goes terribly wrong.
    • A common subversion involves the apparent disaster to turn out to be a good thing after all—thus making the sarcastic remark true.
    • Firefly only used it once, but it was spoken by a naked man marooned in the middle of the desert. What's really funny is that he meant it!
    • Alpha 5's line after the first meeting with the would-be Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in "The Day Of the Dumpster" goes very wrong.
  • "That's just what they want you to think!" Spoken by many an Agent Mulder or Conspiracy Theorist.
  • "The inside of my mouth tasted like something died in it". Usually a First Person narrative remark, made either after a night out drinking or after being knocked unconscious, if not both. Many variations.
  • "Them's fightin' words!" Taking exception to something said, usually in a Western context.
  • "There are no such things as monsters!" Skepticism Failure ensues.
  • "There goes our deposit." Spoken when property damage ensues.
  • "There's no 'I' in 'team'!" Optional stock response: "But there's an 'm' and an 'e', and that spells me!" (Then there's the response from web series Red vs. Blue: "Yeah, and there's no U either. So if I'm not on the team and you're not on the team, there's nobody on the goddamned team! The team sucks!")

Cuddy: There's no 'I' in team, House.
House: There is a 'me', though...if you jumble it up a bit.

    • This troper prefers, "Then why is there an 'I' in 'partnership?" He's never had the opportunity to use it though.
  • "There's something odd about that guy." Usually said when a bystander, witness, or ally seems legit, but turns out to be The Mole or otherwise sitting on a whopper of a secret.
  • "There's something you don't see every day..." Usually said by someone seeing something outrageous or crazy going on.
  • "There's something you should know..." Usually said by character A to character B when character B is about to do something (or has just done something) that would turn out to be immoral or unwise if character B had the information that character A has. Or if Character A is about to dump a Reveal on B that makes their situation more complicated.
  • "The very idea!" Shocked utterance of a Grande Dame or one who fancies herself such, often coupled with "Well I never!"
  • "Things can't get any worse." Things will always get worse. See Tempting Fate, Rock Bottom, and Finagle's Law.
  • "This is bad." or "This is not good." An understated version of Oh Crap.
  • "This isn't fair!" or "This isn't a fair fight." Generally followed by "Life isn't fair..." (see above)
  • "This is so evil/crazy/insane/hideous etc. I like it!"
    • Variation: "You're an insane maniac/etc. And that's why I like you!"
  • "This is the end!" or "This fight is mine!" A staple of Shonen fighting series, it ranks right up with "Nothing Can Stop Us Now" for drawing the ire of the powers that be.
  • "This can't be happening" or "This isn't happening." A staple of horror and sci-fi flicks when the protagonists realize they're caught up in something really crazy, dangerous, surreal, or all of the above.
    • X Files had an episode with the title "This is Not Happening" where abductees including Mulder are turning up dead.
    • Flynn's reaction to discovering he's been transferred into the computer: "This isn't happening. It just thinks it's happening."
  • "Those are prescription glasses!" When a Blind Without'Em character is robbed of his spectacles.
    • Parodied in The Simpsons with the obese Comic Book Guy: "Those are prescription pants!"
  • "This will all end in tears." Often used by The Eeyore to express doubt in the current plan or actions of other characters.
  • "Those drums are driving me mad!" British explorer/colonial (complete with pith helmet) is having trouble dealing with native communications protocols.
  • "Try and get some (rest/sleep)." Said after a particularly trying experience for one or more characters, generally during a down-time scene before The Climax. Often accompanied by a hug, pat on the back, or even a tuck into bed.


  • "Very carefully". : As a response to "How did you do that?", "How do I do this?", etc.


  • "Was it good for you?": Asked after having sex.
  • "Was it something I said?": When a conversation ends with one person suddenly thumping the other person and/or storming out and slamming the door, the other person says this. Usually, what they said or did to prompt the reaction is blindingly obvious to everyone except them. But occasionally, it was something completely external, such as the activation of the Bat Signal.
  • "Watch out for that first step. It's a doozy!"
  • "Water! Water!" Has to be exclaimed when someone is Fainting in public.
  • "We are asking the questions here!" Usually with a German accent. Can make Talking Your Way Out very difficult.
  • "We attack at dawn!"
  • "We can't take that chance!" Indicates when The Federation (or even the Hero) all-but-folds in the face of the huge demands of the villain backed by force.
  • "We didn't start this fight, but we're gonna finish it."
  • "We do not negotiate with terrorists". When this line is uttered, expect negotiation with terrorists to follow fairly quickly.
  • "We don't know what we're fighting for!"
  • "We don't know what we're up against." Said by The Captain or the highest-ranked individual around when going on a mission with any unknown variables.
  • "Well, it was worth a shot." These days, often follows the attempted application of a trope that failed.
  • "Well, well, well...." Often said by villains when they discover and approach the heroes in the midst of their heroics and begin their villainous dialogue.
  • "Well I never!" Shocked phrase of the Grande Dame. Often followed with "The very idea!"
  • "Well, that's new..." Overly calm reaction to a large change, frequently a form of Lampshade Hanging.
  • "We mustn't. I'd only feel cheap." Obsolete objection to adultery or other illicit behavior.
  • "We need to talk." A phrase that is usually followed by "It's over", "You're fired", or at the very least, "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Of late, it's generally followed by a wary reaction on the part of the person addressed.
    • Seinfeld dubbed this "The four most dangerous words in the English language."
    • Brent Sienna from PVP Online once stated that "In all the history of mankind, nothing good has ever come after the phrase 'Honey, we need to talk.'"
  • "We're all going to die!"
  • "We're both men of the world, you and I..." ...so you know that I'm about to threaten your life in the most genteel manner possible.
  • "We've got company!" Said as a warning of a newly-arrived attack force by the opposite side.
  • "What are you always running from?" Bonus points if the reply is, "Maybe myself."
  • "What! Are you crazy?" Bonus points if the answer is simply, "Yes."
  • "What are you doing?" "Something I should have done a long time ago." Exchange which occurs when a henchman turns on the bad guy, thus saving the hero. Also sometimes as the hero surprises a love interest with their first kiss (or, if their relationship is more advanced, a wedding proposal).
  • "What are you doing here?" "What am I doing here? What are you doing here?!"
  • "What could possibly happen/go wrong?" This is often the kiss of death, particularly for what seems to be A Simple Plan. Someone who says this usually finds out the answer the hard way. See Tempting Fate. Also expect a Genre Savvy Character to point that they shouldn't had said that.
  • "What did you say your name was?" "I didn't." Usually used to up a character's mystique, or if the audience knows their name, to show that they're keeping their identity hidden. Also can take the form of "You never told me your name." "No, I didn't."
  • "What do you want?"/ "Ah, it's not what I want, it's what you want." Standard opening to the Deal with the Devil.
    • Subverted in The Proposition: "You want me to kill my brother?" "I want you to kill your brother."
  • "Whatever <Character> is paying you, I'll double it." Used both for rich kidnapping victims and for rich victims of assassins. Neither variant usually works.
    • Dan Marino in Ace Ventura uses this: "I don't know how much psycho-woman's paying you, but I'll double it." "Forget it. Psycho-woman keeps us out of prison."
  • "What have we here?"
  • "What have you done, You Monster!!"
  • "What if it's a trick?" "What if it's not?"
  • "What in the name of X is going on here?" where X is usually a Running Gag of the character's interests; i.e. a wrestling fan would put names of famous wrestlers in the place of X.
  • "What kind of fool do you take me for?" Usually followed immediately by "Don't answer that," usually just before the second person actually does.
  • "What's my motivation?" Typically used to indicate a Classically-Trained Extra who's trying to get far too much depth out of a meaningless part.
  • "What sorcery is this?!" Usually said by a character from a primitive civilization/time period, usually when confronted by technology, rather than actual magic.
  • "What treachery is this?!" A character realizes that he or she has just been betrayed.
  • "What will they think of next?" (Sometimes used sincerely, often used sarcastically.)
  • "When are we?" The time traveler trying to figure out what year he's landed in.
    • Stewie says to Brian who says this in Family Guy, "Oh, that's such a douche time traveler thing to say."
  • "Where have I heard that voice?" Say hello to the recurring villain.
  • "Where did you find/get this guy?"
  • "Who are you, and what have you done with X?": Said to X, after some display of out-of-character behaviour. Often said by mothers after a display of affection or gratitude by their teenaged kid.
  • Who the hell do you think I am? - Most prevalent in Gurren Lagann, but you'll find it all over the place, uttered by hot-blooded and/or self-confident characters who just git underestimated.
  • "When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much..." The opening of The Talk.
  • "Where have you been? You missed all the excitement!" Usually said to the one who was secretly the cause of the excitement. Common in the Superhero genre.
  • "Why can't I make you see, Pa? I got music inside of me." The gifted child tries to explain what drives him to his more down-to-earth parent. Variations are common and continue to the present day—see Billy Elliot, for example.
  • "Why don't you come up to my place?" The classic come-on line (though variations in phrasing are numerous).
  • "Who turned out the lights?" A character has just been blinded, often by a bucket landing on his head.
  • "Who wants to know?" The classic response of the Private Detective or First-Person Smartass to being asked if they're themselves. Frequently, the character asking the speaker is a Mook of the Big Bad.
  • "Why am I Surrounded by Idiots?!": Said by the Big Bad after displays of particular incompetence by his minions.
  • "Why, I oughtta..." Spoken with clenched fist and suppressed rage.
  • "Will you stop saying (X)?"
  • "With you by my side as queen..."
  • "Why me?" Often uttered by characters (usually the Deadpan Snarker or Butt Monkey) when things never seem to go right for them.


  • "X?! Ooh, I love X! ... What's X?"


  • "Ya gotta believe me!" The Standard Suspect Punch Line, used to end almost every interrogation that includes an unbelievable alibi.
  • "Yes, I did it, and I'm glad!" Standard line in the Motive Rant, often used by the faithless wife confessing to her husband's murder.
  • "...yes? no?" Funny Foreigners like to turn declarative sentences into questions by appending this.
  • "You ARE the One!" The usual statement when the most adamant doubter of the The Chosen One is finally convinced.
  • "You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy." Almost any other noun can take the place of "country" in order to fit this to the current context.
  • "You can't do this!" "I just did!"
  • "You can't imagine..."
  • "You can't fire me, I quit!" or "You can't quit, you're fired!": A disgruntled employee to an angry boss, or vice versa. Often spoken in tandem. Note that saying this line usually means less juridical hassle to the recipient, so Don't Try This At Work.
  • "You can't save everyone." Often followed by a grimly determined, "I can try."
  • "You did what?!"
  • "You didn't hear this from me." When Character A is giving Character B a warning or information they're not supposed to give.
  • "You don't believe in anything!"
  • "You don't get out much, do you?" Said in response to a blank look or other uncomprehending response to something the speaker feels is well-known or obvious, usually some element of pop culture.
  • "You don't have to do this!"
  • "You don't know how 'x' feels!"
  • "You insolent fool!"
  • "You know me better than that." "I thought I did." The most common exchange in a You Know What You Did plot.
  • "You look different." Usually said after a character has just gone through rapid Character Development.
  • "You look like shit." So common, it has its own Fully-Automatic Clip Show.
  • "You may have won this time..."
  • "You never write, you never call." ...So I'm complaining about it face-to-face.
  • "You okay?" The starting-point for almost every conversation in almost every scene of Lost.
  • "You should have killed me when you had the chance."
  • "You should see the other guy!" Usually said after a character is badly injured in a fight or 'won' a bet.
  • "You won't get away with this!" "But I already have." Your typical superhero and enemy exchange. Related to Just Between You and Me.
    • Subverted in the famous miniseries/graphic novel Watchmen:

Nite Owl: "When were you planning to do it?"
Ozymandias: "Do it? Dan, I'm not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I'd explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago."

  • "You would have done the same." Standard response of a character confronted by their past morally ambiguous actions.
  • "You'll be dead before you hit the ground." Variation: "You'll be dead before you can feel it." This phrase is most often used to describe poisons or highly destructive weapons. Specifically, it was used in The Lost World: Jurassic Park to describe a poison. More examples can be added.
  • "You'll have to do better than that."
  • "You'll never work in this town again!" Originally said by Samuel Goldwyn, the G of MGM.
  • "You're a dead man! Do you hear me? A dead man!"
  • "You're a genius!" Usually immediately follows an (inadvertent) Eureka Moment on the part of the hero's friend; neither the friend nor the audience will be told how he's a genius until at least the next scene. House has this reaction pretty much Once an Episode, but rarely actually uses the phrase.
  • "You're pregnant?! How did this happen? Well, I know how, but..."
    • Stage example: Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth. In the third act, Gladys Antrobus, depicted in the first two acts as in her early teens, turns up with a baby: Sabina's reaction is a stunned, "Where did you get it? -- Forget I asked! After all these months in camp, I've forgotten how to behave." (There is a war on: she's just realized that Gladys could be married, could be widowed, could be a rape victim, or might indeed have been a camp follower like Sabina herself.)
    • This also shows up in Veronica Mars, though Veronica's talking to Duncan about Meg's (and Duncan's) child.
  • "You're probably all wondering why I called you here today." Usually immediately subject to an I Always Wanted to Say That.
  • "You're really starting to piss me off."
  • "You're weird. I'm <really strange thing>, but it's you that's weird." The dark grey pot tells the kettle that it's really, really black.
  • "You still have family in The Old Country, don't you?" Standard lead-in to a threat/blackmail attempt by an enemy agent in a World War Two or Cold War setting.
  • "You've got til noon to leave Santa Fe." Or there's going to be one heck of a gunfight at the climax of the film.
  • "You've been hurt!" Or just "____, you're hurt!"
    • Often followed by "It's nothing." Then they generally stumble or pass out.
  • "You want him? Come and get him!"
  • "You were saying?"
  • "You were thinking it." Usually uttered after a character protests that they never said X about someone/something (examples: Diego says this to Sid in the first Ice Age movie, Mike says this to Sully in the teaser for Monsters, Inc.). A variation is a character saying something very weird and/or tasteless, and in response to the looks of shock or disgust, protests "Oh come on, you were thinking it too!"