Drowning A Fish YKTTW Discussion

Drowning A Fish
A seemingly impossible task can be done.
(permanent link) added: 2011-07-31 21:24:20 sponsor: fluffything (last reply: 2012-04-29 06:04:15)

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Someone gives a character a task to do. The problem is that the task seems impossible. Maybe it appears to be illogical. Maybe it requires insane amounts of precision. Or, maybe it requires the most obscure knowledge known to mankind. Whatever the reason, the general public thinks it simply cannot be done.

Turns out, it can be done.

In other words, this is when a task that seems impossible to do turns out to be quite doable. This both occurs in fiction as well as Real Life.

Compare Impossible Task.


  • The potential Trope Namer comes from the belief that it's impossible to drown a fish because fish breathe underwater. In reality, if a fish is unable to obtain oxygen in the water, they will be unable to breathe and will technically drown.
  • One famous Urban Legend tells of a teacher who wrote down a math problem on the chalkboard that was considered to be unsolvable. A student who had arrived late wrote the problem in his notes thinking it was homework and ended up solving it without realizing no one had done so before.
  • May be posed as a challenge, requiring Exact Words or some other kind of unusual interpretation. In Real Life, such seemingly paradoxical challenges are used for tests in the military, in businesses and in other organisations to confirm a candidate's ability to think outside the box.
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