Created By: Earnest on July 18, 2011 Last Edited By: Earnest on July 21, 2011
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Twin Telling Tags

Twins have one or more superficial differences to differentiate.

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How could anyone possibly tell them apart?

"I'm Tamera, and I'm the one with the mole."
"And I'm Tia, and I'm the one without the mole."
-- Tia and Tamera Mowry:

Being twins is awesome! You have an identical best friend and worst enemy (...wait, there's a difference?). Best of all? No one can tell you apart! ... except you are not one person, and having everyone constantly confuse the two of you can get grating very quickly. So the twins will develop different clothing styles, hair styles, and mannerism to help differentiate each other. They now have two identities rather than one... though they may ensure the superficial changes are small/impermanent enough to allow for future impersonation just to keep messing with people.

If one twin is absolutely sick of the prospect of their twin and them being confused, or has a falling out with their sibling and no longer trusts them with casual impersonation, they'll make permanent alterations such as tattoo's, scars, piercings, very deep tans, or even cosmetic surgery to really avoid confusion.

This is almost always Truth in Television - usually either because there's a biological distinction (like, say, a mole on one twin's cheek, that the other doesn't have) or because they like to do something to differentiate themselves (like a different hair style - even a different hair colour, sometimes). Even more Truth in Television: Even identical twins can be told apart by their fingerprints.

See also/compare Twin Desynch. Tareme and Tsurime are a common way to tell twins apart. (note to launcher, updated through to the Johnny Test example.)


Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • Although not technically twins, Thompson and Thomson from Tintin have slightly different mustache styles.

Film
  • Dead Ringers: Elliot and Beverly Mantle are identical twins who begin the film as nearly inseparable partners in a gynecological practice. As the story progresses, Beverly and Elliot personalities diverge due to one of the twin's advancing mental instability. This is reflected in their appearance, with Elliot maintaining a healthy, well-tanned look while Beverly develops bags under his eyes, a sickly pallor, and a nervous twitch. Guess which one's losing his marbles?
  • In the first parts of both versions of The Parent Trap, one twin has short hair and the other has long hair. However, the roles are swapped as the laid-back Cali girl has longer hair in the original and the primmer Brit has long hair in the remake. This is remedied after they become friends, though, when the one with longer hair cuts it.
  • In Scott Pilgrim Versus The World Kyle & Ken Katayanagi, Evil Exes 5 and 6 respectively, have very different outfits and Ken has bleached his hair. Interestingly, in the movie at least, they lack individual characterizations.
  • Serenity: Fanty and Mingo.
    Mal: [greeting the twins] Fanty. Mingo.
    Mingo: He's Mingo.
    Mal: He's Fanty. You're Mingo.
    Mingo: How is it you always know?
    Mal: Fanty's prettier.
  • In some of the scenes of The Social Network the Winklevoss twins are differentiated through hairstyle: Cameron wears his nomrally and Tyler has his slicked back.

Literature
  • In most versions of Alice in Wonderland, Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee have their names embroidered in their collars.
  • In Harry Potter, Fred and George Weasley are identical enough that they're seen pulling a Twin Switch on their mother. Their mother will routinely make them jumpers with F and G on them ("For Gred and Forge" the twins joke). In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, George loses his ear getting Harry to safety. One of the first things the twins tell their mother is now she can tell them apart.
    • There're also Padma and Parvati Patil. In the books, Padma is in Ravenclaw and Parvati in Gryffindor. Goblet Of Fire states the two could usually only be told apart by their uniforms; both are in Gryffindor in the films.
  • In Ngaio Marsh's Death of a Peer (UK title A Surfeit of Lampreys), A pair of near-identical twins both claimed to have taken the elevator with their uncle just before he was found dead in it. Only one of them did, and Alleyn points out that the twins can't cover for each other since he can tell which twin is which.
  • The Midnight Twins is a book about seer twins, one who can see into the future and one into the past. Meredith, aka Merry, is cheerful and girly. Her hair is parted on the right, she's right-handed, and she has two piercings in her right ear. Mallory, aka Mally, is a tomboyish loner with all of the aforementioned characteristics on her left side.
  • In The Stainless Steel Rat books, Jim's sons James and Bolivar are distinguished only by a small scar behind James's ear, from when Bolivar bit him when they were four.
  • In The Vorkosigan Saga, Mark deliberately gains huge amounts of weight so that he can be easily distinguished from his clone-brother Miles.

Live-Action TV
  • Invoked in an episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Cody decides to dye his hair "Honey Mist Auburn" so that people would be able to tell him from Zack. To quote the episode: "Honey, you missed auburn big-time." He ended up as a redhead, and ironically was forced to do a Twin Switch because of it. In Real Life, you could tell Dylan Sprouse from his brother because Cole (Cody) has a more gaunt face than Dylan.

Real Life (Non-Troper Tales examples)
  • Mary Kate Olsen also tried this when she died her hair.

Web Comics
  • While not Technically twins, the parallel dimention Megaman and Bass from Bob and George put on some tags to diferentiate themselves from their local counterparts. Later, the future versions of the alternates appeared and put on the apropiate tags... AND THEN the future version of the future's alternate's appeared.

Western Animation
  • The Oracle Twins in American Dragon: Jake Long dress exceedingly differently. In the first season, before the animation style changed, it's easy to tell that they were just dressing differently. In the second season, their entire appearances, hair color included, are altered.
  • Susan and Mary Test, from Johnny Test, have different hairstyles and differently-shaped glasses (square for Susan, half-moon for Mary).
  • In Rugrats Phil and Lil De Vil are identical fraternal twins. They had slightly different outfits; Lil wore a pink bow in her hair and her overalls were actually tapered like a skirt at the bottom. They're still similar enough that switching Lil's bow can cause their dad to confuse them.

Tabletop RPG
  • Dungeons & Dragons module EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror, which was inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland stories. T. Deeous and T. Diumm (a Shout-Out to Tweedledee and Tweedledum) look exactly alike, except for the ties that secure their jackets: one is russet-red, one is plum colored.

Video Games
  • Jailbait twins Gauche and Droite from Tales of Vesperia. They look the same for the most part, but are easy to distinguish due to the color of their hair and eyes, as well as having distinct voices.
  • Tales of Vesperia has Hisca and Chastel from the OVA The First Strike. They are distinguishable by the fact that Chastel is ... larger than her sister.


Troper Tales:

  • This troper closely resembles his little brother physically, but our body language and voice patterns are very different. When we had a still photo taken of us in identical poses, Dad could barely tell us apart and couldn't for the life of him understand why.
  • And this one is actually a half-inch shorter and 50 pounds lighter than her identical twin. There are also the matters of our facial expressions and body language being a dead giveaway to anyone who's seen us for more then 20 minutes at a stretch.
  • An old friend of mine said she could tell the school's token twins apart because one had a slightly deformed ear. I asked her which. She couldn't remember.
  • This Troper has a twin brother (who also happens to be a troper) and we have a few trait to be told apart by, so maybe this should have a troper tales page
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • July 18, 2011
    Allronix
    • In The Stainless Steel Rat books, Jim's sons James and Bolivar are distinguished only by a small scar behind James's ear, from when Bolivar bit him when they were four.

    This one's gonna attract Troper Tales like a magnet. For instance:
    • This troper closely resembles his little brother physically, but our body language and voice patterns are very different. When we had a still photo taken of us in identical poses, Dad could barely tell us apart and couldn't for the life of him understand why.
    • And this one is actually a half-inch shorter and 50 pounds lighter than her identical twin. There are also the matters of our facial expressions and body language being a dead giveaway to anyone who's seen us for more then 20 minutes at a stretch.
  • July 18, 2011
    Aielyn
    This is almost always Truth In Television - usually either because there's a biological distinction (like, say, a mole on one twin's cheek, that the other doesn't have) or because they like to do something to differentiate themselves (like a different hair style - even a different hair colour, sometimes).
  • July 18, 2011
    SalFishFin
    Invoked in an episode of The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody. Cody decides to dye his hair "Honey Mist Auburn" so that people would be able to tell him from Zack. To quote the episode: "Honey, you missed auburn big-time." He ended up as a redhead, and ironically was forced to do a Twin Switch because of it.

    In Real Life, you could tell Dylan Sprouse from his brother because Cole (Cody) has a more gaunt face than Dylan.

    Tia and Tamera Mowry: "I'm Tamera, and I'm the one with the mole." "And I'm Tia and I'm the one without the mole."

  • July 18, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    • In the first parts of both versions of The Parent Trap, one twin has short hair and the other has long hair. However, the roles are swapped as the laid-back Cali girl has longer hair in the original and the primmer Brit has long hair in the remake. This is remedied after they become friends, though, when the one with longer hair cuts it.

    Didn't Mary Kate Olsen also try this when she died her hair?

    ^^ Yeah, this is going to be really big in Troper Tales. An old friend of mine said she could tell the school's token twins apart because one had a slightly deformed ear. I asked her which. She couldn't remember.

    I seem to recall reading a book about twins a while ago, and their hair was parted on different sides. I'll look it up and come back later.

    Also:
    • The Oracle Twins in American Dragon Jake Long dress exceedingly differently. In the first season, before the animation style changed, it's easy to tell that they were just dressing differently. In the second season, their entire appearances, hair color included, are altered.
  • July 18, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    In Ngaio Marsh's Death of a Peer (UK title A Surfeit of Lampreys), A pair of near-identical twins both claimed to have taken the elevator with their uncle just before he was found dead in it. Only one of them did, and Alleyn points out that the twins can't cover for each other since he can tell which twin is which.
  • July 19, 2011
    TBTabby
    Truth In Television: Even identical twins can be told apart by their fingerprints.
  • July 19, 2011
    JonnyB
    Film
    • Serenity: Fanty and Mingo.
      Mal: [greeting the twins] Fanty. Mingo.
      Mingo: He's Mingo.
      Mal: He's Fanty. You're Mingo.
      Mingo: How is it you always know?
      Mal: Fanty's prettier.
  • July 19, 2011
    MiinU

    Video games

    • Jailbait twins Gauche and Droite from Tales Of Vesperia. They look the same for the most part, but are easy to distinguish due to the color of their hair and eyes, as well as having distinct voices.
  • July 19, 2011
    Mimimurlough
  • July 19, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Fred and George Weasley from Harry Potter. and the Parvati twins.
  • July 19, 2011
    Damr1990
    While not Technically twins, the parallen dimention Megaman and Bass from Bob And George putted thmeselves some tags from diferentiate them from their local counterparts... late the future versions of the alternates appeared and puttedt themselves the apropiate tags... AND THEN the future version of the future's alternate's appeared
  • July 19, 2011
    TonyG
    In most versions of Alice In Wonderland, Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee have their names embroidered in their collars.
  • July 19, 2011
    GinaInTheKingsRoad
    ^^ That would be Padma and Parvati Patil. In the books, Padma is in Ravenclaw and Parvati in Gryffindor and Goblet Of Fire states the two could usually only be told apart by their uniforms; both are in Gryffindor in the films.
  • July 19, 2011
    KevinKlawitter
    In some of the scenes of The Social Network the Winklevoss twins are differentiated through hairstyle: Cameron wears his nomrally and Tyler has his slicked back.
  • July 19, 2011
    Earnest
    In Scott Pilgrim Versus The World Kyle & Ken Katayanagi, Evil Exes 5 and 6 respectively, have very different outfits and Ken has bleached his hair. Interestingly, in the movie at least, they lack individual characterizations.
  • July 19, 2011
    PS3D
    Although not technically twins, Thompson and Thomson (Tintin) have slightly different mustache styles.
  • July 19, 2011
    sgamer82
    To expand on the above:
    • In Harry Potter, Fred and George Weasley are identical enough that they're seen pulling a Twin Switch on their mother. Their mother will routinely make them jumpers with F and G on them ("For Gred and Forge" the twins joke). In Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Fred loses his ear getting Harry to safety. One of the first things the twins tell their mother is now she can tell them apart.
  • July 19, 2011
    benjamminsam
    In Rugrats Phil and Lil De Vil had slightly different outfits; Lil wore a pink bow in her hair and her overalls were actually tapered like a skirt at the bottom.
  • July 19, 2011
    Psychobabble6
    ^ Also, uh, one's a boy and one's a girl. Their voices are a little different (although they're voiced by the same person). So I guess they're technically fraternal twins.

    Found that book I was talking about:

    • The Midnight Twins is a book about seer twins, one who can see into the future and one into the past. Meredith, aka Merry, is cheerful and girly. Her hair is parted on the right, she's right-handed, and she has two piercings in her right ear. Mallory, aka Mally, is a tomboyish loner with all of the aforementioned characteristics on her left side.
  • July 19, 2011
    JoeG
    • In The Vorkosigan Saga, Mark deliberately gains huge amounts of weight so that he can be easily distinguished from his clone-brother Miles.
  • July 20, 2011
    HandsomeRob
    For the Tales Of Vesperia example, Gauche and Droite are apparently not twins. Now Hisca and Chastel from the OVA The First strike are. They are distinguishable by the fact that Chastel is ......larger than her sister.
  • July 20, 2011
    MiinU
    ^@'Handsome Rob' -- Really? I thought they were.
  • July 20, 2011
    Raso
    Tareme and Tsurime are a common way to tell twins apart.
  • July 20, 2011
    ArtemisStrong
    Dead Ringers: Elliot and Beverly Mantle are identical twins who begin the film as nearly inseparable partners in a gynecological practice. As the story progresses, Beverly and Elliot personalities diverge due to one of the twin's advancing mental instability. This is reflected in their appearance, with Elliot maintaining a healthy, well-tanned look while Beverly develops bags under his eyes, a sickly pallor, and a nervous twitch. Guess which one's losing his marbles?
  • July 20, 2011
    TheEnforcer
    This Troper has a twin brother (who also happens to be a troper) and we have a few trait to be told apart by, so maybe this should have a troper tales page
  • July 20, 2011
    Duckay
    @sgamer82 - George loses the ear, not Fred.
  • July 21, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons module EX2 The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror, which was inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland stories. T. Deeous and T. Diumm (a Shout Out to Tweedledee and Tweedledum) look exactly alike, except for the ties that secure their jackets: one is russet-red, one is plum colored.
  • July 21, 2011
    HandsomeRob
    No wait. I was wrong. Gauche and Droite are twins. They count.
  • July 21, 2011
    MiinU
    ^Ah. Ya had me worried that I missed something. :)
  • July 21, 2011
    EddieValiant,Jr.
    Susan and Mary Test, from Johnny Test, have different hairstyles and differently-shaped glasses (square for Susan, half-moon for Mary).
  • July 21, 2011
    Earnest
    Is everyone happy with the name? We could shorten it to Twin Tags or Twin Tells, for instance.
  • July 21, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • Parodied & Inverted in The Great Muppet Caper where Kermit (a frog) and Fozzie (a bear) play identical twins.
      Editor: You two guys don't look anything alike!
      Kermit: That's 'cause Fozzie's not wearing his hat. Fozzie, put your hat back on.
      Fozzie: Yes sir. puts hat on See?
      Editor: Oh, yeah, I can see it now.
  • July 21, 2011
    Aielyn
    How about making it a little longer, but clearer?

    Identical Twin Identification Tag - actually, Identical Twin ID Tag should work just as well.
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