- has already happened
- is in the process of happening
- will happen regardless
- is the accepted status quo
- or is the result of not doing "X".
Anime & Manga
- One-Punch Man: When Armored Gorilla is disabled by Genos, he refuses to give up any information to him or Saitama, boasting that his superior Beast King will kill them both. Saitama then pulls out the messy remains from when he'd slaughtered Beast King and asks if that's the guy he's talking about. After a long Visible Silence, Armored Gorilla switches from Robo Speak to a regular voice and meekly acquiesces.
Films — Animation
- In Kubo and the Two Strings, during their journey the Monkey mentions to Kubo, who is climbing on some rocks behind her back, that any moment something terrible could come out of nowhere... and as she turns around Kubo is gone. Turns out he was abducted by a beetle.
Films — Live-Action
- In Tombstone, Wyatt Earp is seeking his fortune, and a man warns him, "I've never met a wealthy man who didn't wind up with a guilty conscience." Wyatt replies, "I've already got a guilty conscience. Might as well have the money, too."
- In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader, who has killed the Emperor and gotten zapped by Force Lightning in the process, asks Luke to remove his helmet so Anakin Skywalker can look on his son with his own eyes. Luke protests that Anakin will die, but Anakin points out he's already dying. Then, Luke says he must save his father, but Anakin says Luke has done that as well.
- The Tonight Show: When Johnny Carson was retiring, Jay Leno and David Letterman were both vying for the job. Eventually it went to Jay, but Johnny was still hosting the show for several more months. Shortly after the decision, Johnny had Dave on as a guest.
Johnny: Well, why don't I start off with a question, here: just how pissed off are you?
Dave: Johnny, lemme give you a little piece of advice: you keep using language like that, and you're gonna find yourself out of a job.
- Animorphs: Elfangor is hoping to prevent the Yeerk invasion of Earth, but is told their scouts are in orbit already.
- In Second Foundation, a student in the titular organization tells the First Speaker that there is a high chance the First Foundation had shifted its focus to anti-telepath research in order to fight them. The Speaker states it has already happened.
- From the prologue to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:
There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
- In Heir Of Andelun, the prophesy warns that if the titular heir sires a child with the daughter of the current King and joining the two dynasties, it will mean that the dynasty the deposed Andelun belonged to is extinct. Turns out, Andelun's ancestors violated a law regarding inbreeding (several times, in fact), and thus went legally extinct long before even Andelun was born.
- In Words of Radiance, Jasnah receives this three times in quick succession after surviving an assassination attempt and trying to deliver dire warnings. Each time, to her increasing irritation, it's not news anymore. That her audience is The Gadfly Hoid doesn't help matters either.
- Dawn of War 2: After the Tyranids arrive in subsector Aurelia but seem to spare the capital world of Meridian, Cyrus keeps telling the government to step up production against the invasion but is repeatedly blown off. Only once the Blood Ravens discover that the Eldar have been messing with scans and preventing calls for help from transmitting is the threat taken seriously, but by then the Tyranids have gained a considerable foothold.
- In Icewind Dale, the Flavor Text for Pale Justice states that the sword was forged by a smith worshiping the god Tyr as his masterpiece. Then he brought it to Tyr's temple as a gift. The priests there prayed to their god for ten years to grant it magical power. Then they gave up, and a single priest prayed for it alone. After twenty more years, the priest realized that Tyr had enchanted the sword years ago... just without fanfare.
- In Freefall, Bill Raibert wants to be awoken before things spiral out of control. Maxwell Post tells him that things are already out of control.
- In Jack, a doctor working on the cure for cancer sexually abuses children, and keeps his assistant silent by using the assistant's wife as a hostage of sorts (she's dying of cancer). Finally the assistant snaps and calls the police. When the doctor tries again to use the dying wife as leverage, he learns what made the assistant snap: his assistant's wife is already dead.
- In Tales of the Questor, Quentyn is told that if he goes on a dangerous quest for lost artifacts, he might never be able to return home. Quentyn points out that if he doesn't go on this quest, he won't have a home to return to.
- S.S.D.D: This combines with time traveling to become a sort of You Aren't Early Enough. A group has gone back in time to stop the Oracle from being built. One of the people they rope into their number is a cat named Michael. When Michael learns about the Oracle, he casually references the Echelon Plugin—and the group realizes they can't prevent the Oracle from being created, since it already exists. In fact, when they first arrived, they arrived on the scene of the slaughter it caused; Michael is one of only two survivors.
- In the Furry Basketball Association, player Doug Dramson fakes getting clawed by Buck Hopper to get the superstar rabbit off the court, even cutting himself with a razorblade to make himself bleed. His coach finds out and orders Doug to confess his stunt to the press. Doug says "But I'll get fined and suspended." His coach's reply: "If you confess, that's all that will happen!"
- The Simpsons: When Homer joins the Stonecutters he must take an oath that says if he ever discloses the Stonecutters' secrets, "...may my stomach become bloated and my head plucked of all but three hairs." Moe thinks that Homer should be made to take a different oath, because Homer has only three hairs and quite the beer belly.
- There is a story out of the former East Germany where a man who had criticized the government who'd been injured, and was given medication and told that, if he didn't take it, he would never regain his strength. After years of chronic illness and weakness, he decided if he was going to be this sick anyways it wasn't worth taking his medicine, so he stopped. He realized that the medicine was actually poisoning him when he recovered from his "illness".