Common Knowledge
Left: what most people think Sherlock Holmes looks like. Right: how Arthur Conan Doyle actually depicted him (as seen in Sherlock Holmes).

In TV, there are some things that everyone knows. Well, sorta. As it turns out, people as a whole know less than they think they do. Casual viewers of a series will often come away with their fair share of mistakes. Such fallacies are often used by real true fans as a yardstick of the difference between themselves and the masses.

All the same, these notions can be so firmly entrenched in the public zeitgeist that they can force their way into adaptations, much to the annoyance of the aforementioned real true fans.

Named for a Saturday Night Live game show sketch in which the questions were selected by experts reflecting things all high school seniors should know, and the answers were selected from a survey of high school seniors (that is, they were wrong).

Sub Tropes are Title Confusion, I Am Not Shazam, and Beam Me Up, Scotty!. May result from or lead to Lost in Imitation, or from any of the subtropes under Time Marches On. May result from Audience-Coloring Adaptation, where people assume the original work is the same as a well known adaptation of the work. When left unchecked, it can lead to Cowboy BeBop at His Computer, Analogy Backfire and Never Live It Down. See also Reality Is Unrealistic, The Coconut Effect, Dead Unicorn Trope, Everybody Knows That, and Mis-blamed. No relation to Lost Common Knowledge.


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  • The Last Supper
    • The Last Supper is commonly referred to as a fresco, which it is not. Leonardo Da Vinci experimented with this painting, and instead of painting it on wet plaster as was the convention, he painted The Last Supper on a dry wall with an experimental mix of tempera and paint, differentiating it from ordinary frescos.
    • Rumors that the model for Jesus and Judas were one and the same are unfounded, as explains in detail here.

  • The depiction of Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic having a violent, stoic alter ego named "Pinkamena Diane Pie" comes from the fanfic Cupcakes. It was thought to be inspired by her flat-haired, schizoid self from a disturbing scene in "Party of One" where Pinkie has a full conversation about how rude her friends are with various inanimate objects. Not only was the fic was released before "Party of One" premiered, but Pinkie is her curly-maned and cheerful self despite torturing ponies to death, this supposed "Pinkamena" alter ego never appearing. A lot of the unease of the fic comes from the fact that Pinkie, as her normal happy-go-lucky hyperactive self, is either unaware or apathetic to the horrors she's committing; a violent alter ego would defeat the whole point.

    Film — Animated 
  • Disney didn't shut down Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers Digital studio after Mars Needs Moms flopped... because they had actually shut it down two years earlier, after the studios previous film A Christmas Carol (2009) flopped. All the failure of Mars Needs Moms did was lead Disney to cancel the other "burn-off" projects that the remaining ImageMovers staff had with them, such as the Yellow Submarine remake and Zemeckis' adaption of The Nutcracker.
  • Many people who haven't seen the movie assume that Disney's 101 Dalmatians is about a pair of Dalmatians that produce a litter of 99 puppies, making 101 Dalmatians in total. In actuality, they only produce 15 puppies, and the other 84 puppies were obtained by Cruella DeVille from other places, some even purchased legally. The parent dogs do wind up adopting the other puppies, though.
  • The Lion King:
    • A lot of people assume Zira and Scar were romantically involved, because of how obsessed she is with him and that Nuka was the child they had together, based on his comment "Scar wasn't even his [Kovu's] father". While the second film's creators did initially intend for both of these to be the case, they scrapped these ideas by the end of production once they realized the incestuous implications this would have on Kovu's and Kiara's relationship. Scar could still be Nuka's father, and maybe even Vitani's father, but it's never specified.
    • Nala and Simba are not officially cousins. Many people think this because there are only two lions in the pride: Scar and Mufasa, who are brothers. While real lions don't tolerate other lions offspring in their prides, Mufasa only seems to be mated to Sarabi and Scar seems unaffiliated with any lioness. An unused scene had Scar trying to seduce Nala which implies even more that he was not her father, as its unlikely Disney was going for the other interpretation. The Lion Guard jossed the theory by showing Nala's father as a cub, and he is neither Mufasa nor Scar.
  • In Beauty and the Beast the Beast's name is not "Adam", officially he's just "The Beast" or "The Prince". It's a Fan Nickname at best.
  • Because the musical number "Let's Make Music Together" from All Dogs Go to Heaven is widely known to be the Trope Namer for Big Lipped Alligator Moment (via The Nostalgia Chick), many people often assume that it's a completely out-of-place moment with no relevance to the plot, and that the singing alligator in question completely vanishes from the movie when the song ends. In fact, not only does King Gator reappear towards the end of the movie, he's the one that takes down Carface and saves Charlie at the climax. Basically, the BLAM isn't the Alligator himself, but the musical number.
  • All Animation Is Disney. Only it's not...
    • The one movie that deserves special mention here is Anastasia, which is mistaken for a Disney movie so commonly that even some Disney wikis include articles on it. It was made by Don Bluth and produced by 20th Century Fox, not Disney.
  • Beret Girl from An Extremely Goofy Movie has no known name. "Mocha Chino" is a Fan Nickname.
  • On that note, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is not the first animated feature film. It is the first to be released in America, the first from Disney, the first to feature color, and the first to turn a profit and be successful, but it was by no means the first to be what we now consider a "feature length" film (over 60 minutes). That honour goes to two films (now lost) by Argentinian animator Quirino Cristiani. The oldest surviving animated feature is Lotte Reiniger's silent film The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926, 65 minutes).
  • Frozen:
    • With the release of the 2013 Disney Animated Canon movie Frozen, many people have commented how "ground-breaking" it is that the main female character's Love at First Sight and Fourth Date Marriage is deconstructed and discouraged. This builds on the assumption that such tropes are extremely common in Disney movies, while actually the last Disney movie that played these tropes straight was The Little Mermaid - in 1989. All Disney movies after that, Disney Princess movies included, either played with the tropes or avoided them entirely.
    • The subversion of True Love's Kiss is also praised as incredibly inventive. While the only two Disney movies that played that trope straight are Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty - which means the last time that trope was really used was 1959.
    • An early version of Elsa is referred to by fans as "Onion Elsa" or "Evil!Elsa". She's usually presented as very dark and evil however this isn't technically accurate. That Elsa was very angry and arrogant but not outright evil. She had self-confidence issues due to being ostracized for her powers, being seen as the person a prophecy refers to, and feeling jealous of Anna. She really just decided to act evil because that's what everyone expected from her. Her personality was also rather playful and campy instead of being a straight-laced antagonist.
  • Everyone knows Aladdin was the first animated film to have a Celebrity Voice Actor in the form of Robin Williams... except that Disney had been using celebrities in their films as far back as Pinocchio, which had well-known singer Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket. Many other animated films (both Disney and non-Disney) before Aladdin had casts of well-known celebrities in them, most notably The Last Unicorn (which featured Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges, Alan Arkin, Tammy Grimes, Christopher Lee, and Angela Lansbury) and An American Tail (featuring Dom De Luise, Madeleine Khan, and Christopher Plummer).
  • Pixar always includes Hilarious Outtakes in their movies... except, no, they don't. They did that in A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, and Monsters, Inc., and then got bored with the practice and stopped forever to focus on other kinds of Creative Closing Credits. Also the notion that the outtakes are genuine flubs from the voice actors which are then animated; while surely some of the concept's imitators took that route, Pixar's outtakes feature the Animated Actors getting hit by shenanigans such as Corpsing, forgetting their lines, on-set pranks, stunt and prop failures, and other things that wouldn't happen in a booth.

  • Everyone knows that "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was written to honor Abraham Lincoln, except that it was not. The song is actually an old folk song that had new lyrics added by American writer Julia Ward Howe, inspired by an early battle of the Civil War; it was honoring the army of the Union, not the President.
  • "Jingle Bells" was written as a Christmas and holiday season song, right? Actually, wrong. When originally written in 1857 by James Lord Pierpont, it was intended to be sung on Thanksgiving.
  • Despite it being disproven for years, there are still people who are convinced that "Puff The Magic Dragon" is nothing but a long, badly-hidden drug reference, as is Bob Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" (Refrain from Assuming: "Everybody Must Get Stoned").
    • According to Word of God, "Purple Haze" is a love song where Jimi Hendrix describes a dream he had where he was walking under the ocean.
    • And "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is what John Lennon's young son titled his drawing, not a thinly veiled LSD reference.
      • Though in this particular instance, "Common Knowledge" seems to be that it is a thinly veiled LSD reference and they made up the story about the drawing in an attempt to claim otherwise.
  • "99 Luftballons" means "99 Balloons" (Luft means "air", but Luftballon is more commonly to toys than other types of balloons); indeed, not one line of the German lyrics mentions the balloons' colors. Nena added the word "red" to the English lyrics so it would scan a bit better.
  • The Norwergian band Nightcore is the Trope Namer for Nightcore, a type of Speedy Techno Remix involving speeding up slow dance/techno/trance songs to turn them into much faster and upbeat "nightcore versions". The group Nightcore never actually did this; the name is simply a reference to their prominance as one of the Trope Codifiers Happy Hardcore variety of EDM- which is what the typical "Nightcore version" of a song ends up sounding like.
  • Ragtime music is sometimes associated with The Great Depression era, but its popularity actually mostly died around World War I and by the '30s was as far from its heyday of mainstream popularity as Disco music was in The '90s or Grunge is today. The misconception was largely fueled by the 1973 film The Sting, which featured a prominent ragtime soundtrack and was set in 1936.
  • Everyone knows that "Louie Louie" was the filthiest, most obscene song you could commonly hear on the radio (before such controversy caused people to lash out against it). In fact, it's just a completely unintelligible telling of a simple story. The creators themselves have gotten into screaming matches with fans over what the lyrics "allegedly" are.
  • Many people still think that Warrant hated the song "Cherry Pie." This isn't actually true. It is true it was something they wrote quickly, but they don't hate it and have said as much. The songwriter just flipped out during an interview because his life was falling apart at the time during the question about that particular song.
  • It is widely believed that "Bad Boys" was sung by Bob Marley. It was actually sung by Inner Circle in 1992, eleven years after Marley's death.
  • Vocaloid did not start in Japan, it started in the UK, with English speaking vocals. The misconception comes from Miku Hatsune's Breakout Character status, as she happens to be a Japanese Vocaloid. Additionally, Vocaloids were not initially intended to be virtual celebrities; they were intended to be backing vocals for "real" singers, but became celebrities when people started to realize that they can make them sing on their own, too.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic writes more than just parodies of specific songs. In fact his albums have almost as many (if not more) original songs (as well as, usually, a polka medley) as they do direct parodies. Most of these songs parody the style of an artist, but not any song specifically.
    • Also, "Weird Al" Yankovic is not the only artist to do parodies, but many (unofficial) music downloading sites incorrectly list Yankovic (many times spelled as Yankovich) as the performer of nearly every parody available for download, even if it's obviously sung by a woman. There's even a "Not by Al" website listing the parodies he's been incorrectly associated with. Less people might think this now due to the rising popularity of song parodies on YouTube.
  • Genesis was once a cool Prog Rock band with an inventive, creative sound under the guidance of lead singer Peter Gabriel. Then Gabriel left, and drummer Phil Collins took over as lead singer, and that was the end of that. Collins prefers wimpy adult contemporary that does its best not to offend anyone, including straight love ballads that sound like cheesy Michael Bolton ripoffs, so that's all Genesis' music became. Except that's not true at all. It might be true of Collins's solo material, but while Genesis definitely became more commercial and radio-friendly, that was already happening before Gabriel left, and Collins was not at all the ringleader in that regard. Not to mention it wasn't all cheesy 80's synth and love ballads. At their most commercial, Genesis put out the hard-rock protest anthem "Land of Confusion", the superbly creepy "Mama", the attack on hypocritical religious leaders "Jesus He Knows Me", the domestic-abuse-themed "No Son of Mine" and the Blade Runner-inspired "Tonight Tonight Tonight".
  • Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" still regularly gets mentioned as the first pop promo vid. It wasn't, by quite a way, though it may have been the moment at which the medium Grew The Beard.
  • The much-publicized clip of Miley Cyrus gyrating on Robin Thicke at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards may have led to "twerk" becoming a household word overnight, but anyone who actually knew the term "twerking" before that night will know full well that that's not what Cyrus was doing in the clip. The dance move that she did onstage during Thicke's performance of "Blurred Lines" would be more accurately described as "grinding".
  • The La's song "There She Goes" is well-known for being about heroin however the artists deny that interpretation.
  • "Juggalo" is not just a Fan Community Nickname for fans of Insane Clown Posse. The term more accurately applies to fans of the record label Psychopathic Records, which was founded by Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope. ICP is the most well-known group on the label's roster by a pretty wide margin, but it also includes quite a few lesser-known rap acts who share ICP's love of face paint, theatrical alter egos, horror-themed subject matter, and grotesque humor (not to mention a few of ICP's frequent collaborators like Wolfpac, Tech N9ne, and the Kottonmouth Kings, who are considered "honorary" family members). Having "The Great Milenko" and "The Amazing Jeckel Brothers" in one's record collection doesn't necessarily make someone a Juggalo by default, but owning albums by Twiztid, Anybody Killa, Boondox and Blaze Ya Dead Homie definitely does. note 
  • Bob Dylan introduced The Beatles to pot in he didn't. They'd already tried it during their Hamburg stint, along with many other illicit substances. It would be more accurate to say he introduced them to high-quality pot.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Hulk Hogan gets a lot of flak for being an Invincible Hero, like André the Giant, during his WWF Title runs. However, he jobbed several timesnote  to put his opponent over as a viable threat for the title. Between 84 and 91 the supposedly never losing Hogan jobbed 137 times, and put over 3 dozen superstars note  . During his first run he would usually lose once or twice a month. He did even worse during his second run losing over a third of his matches. The only year in which he regularly wrestlednote  and had fewer losses then months was 88 which he spent the majority of without the belt. The reason for this misconception might be because champions in the mid-90's did tend to be Invincible Heroes. Contrast Hogan in 84-87 with Bret Hart's run as the top face a decade later note : during that time frame Hogan lost 55 matches and Hart lost 15. It should be pointed out that most of Hogan's losses during that time period (especially in the WWF) were by countout, not from being pinned or submitting. Nowadays, countouts are considered a cop-out finish and rarely ever used. His run in WCW, however, had him utilize his "Creative Control" card quite often.
    • RD Reynolds has acknowledged Hogan's loss record, but pointed out that there's a difference between losing and putting someone over - when Hogan loses a match, it's usually a case of him inflicting a Curb-Stomp Battle until suddenly being defeated via a dirty trick. This is against the entire point of jobbing, since it fails to make the winning wrestler look strong (after all, they were getting thrashed until they suddenly won). It may be this factor that gives us the "Hogan never loses" belief.
  • Hulk Hogan tends to be remembered as much more squeaky-clean (if not boring) than his actions at the time would suggest. For instance, while 1984's Hulk vs. The Iron Sheik is remembered as a cartoonish battle of the All American Face vs. the Foreign Wrestling Heel, it's Hogan who starts the match with a flurry of cheap shots.
  • At Over the Edge 1999, no one watching on PPV saw Owen Hart fall to his death. He was being lowered to ring during a pre-taped interview segment backstage prior to the accident.
  • Several people claim that Shawn Michaels gave up the WWF Title because he "lost his smile". However, they are confusing two very different promos that happened months apart. At Survivor Series 96, Shawn lost the belt to his one time friend Sycho Sid after Sid attacked Michaels' mentor and manager Jose Lothario; a week later, HBK gave an interview where the always upbeat former champion said the event caused to be afraid for his mentor's safety and it hurt him more than losing the belt, it made him lose his smile. Two months later, Michaels regained the belt at the Royal Rumble, but suffered a severe knee injury and needed surgery, so he would be out of action for at least six months and maybe permanently. He gave up the title in a Tear Jerker speech where he made a brief reference to the earlier promo.
    • It also became common knowledge that he only claimed to have lost his smile so he would not have to lose the title to Bret Hart at WrestleMania and did not even need surgery. This is strange for a couple of reasons: First, Michael's surgery was covered on TV - they even showed footage of him getting the operation done - and he walked with a cane on TV for several weeks while he recovered and returned to his old job as a commentator. Secondly, Hart was at the time the most booed face in the company after his 7 month vacation and feud with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, so it is unlikely that they would give him the belt at the biggest event of the year; also, they did give him a brief reign by winning the Final Four and losing it the next night to Sycho Sid, so they could have easily had Hart as champion at Wrestlemania without Michaels, he just was not over enough to justify it.
  • It's also common knowledge—to the point of being listed on all the corresponding pages at The Other Wiki—that the Acolytes were called Hell's Henchmen when the Jackyl was managing them, then took on the Acolytes name after he left and they became part of the Ministry of Darkness. Except there is no official record of them ever competing in a match under the banner of Hell's Henchmen, and video of old Raw and Heat episodes from that time period proves that the Jackyl was always calling them his Acolytes from the first day he'd associated with them.

  • Despite their world-famous team name, The Harlem Globetrotters are not a real competing basketball team; they are an athletic/comedic theatrical act made up of talented basketball players. All of their "games" are pre-rehearsed spectacles and almost always result in them winning (they are only known to lose by accident, and this happens very rarely).
  • Contrary to popular belief, Oakland Raiders Owner/GM Al Davis was neither a member of "The Foolish Club", the eight original team owners of the American Football League (AFL)note  nor was he the Raiders original head coach. Davis did not assume control of the Raiders until 1967. He was an assistant coach under Hall of Fame coach Sid Gillman for the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers for the AFL's first three seasons (1960-1962), and head coach of the Raiders (hired by actual original Raiders owner F. Wayne Valley) from 1963 to 1965, before handing things over to John Rauch (Which is yet another bit of "common knowledge": John Madden was not Davis' immediate successor - he was Davis' defensive line coach and Rauch's defensive coordinator).
    • Speaking of the AFL: Upon his death in 2014, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson was not the last member of the Foolish Club. He was the last surviving active member. Baron Hilton, the original Chargers owner, is still alive. He sold the team to an investment group in 1963, at the request of the other members of the Hilton family.
  • The so-called "Tom Brady Rule" (which prohibited a defensive player from hitting quarterbacks below the knee) was wrongly attributed to Tom Brady after his season-ending knee injury during the 2008 NFL season. It's unofficially called the "Carson Palmer Rule"note  (which Brady calls his knee injury in a interview with WEEI radio), which was passed back at the start of the 2006 season after Cincinnati Bengals QB Carson Palmer suffered the same injury during the 2005 playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The actual "Brady Rule" (which was passed back in 2009) was a clarification to the existing "Palmer Rule" by stating the following:
    Note 1: A defender cannot initiate a roll or lunge and forcibly hit the passer in the knee area or below, even if he is being contacted by another player.
    Note 2: It is not a foul if the defender swipes, wraps, or grabs a passer in the knee area or below in an attempt to tackle him.
    The Tom Brady Rule, Official NFL Playing Rules
  • The general consensus on the 2007 Spygate scandal is that the New England Patriots were cheaters. In actuality, the Patriots were punished for recording the New York Jets' defensive signals from an illegal location (i.e., the sidelines). Also, Super Bowl-winning coaches Jimmy Johnson, Bill Cowher, Dick Vermeil, and Mike Shanahan admitted to doing the same thing, and stated that the filming of the opponents' signals were common practice back then. Finally, the Patriots were punished after the rule prohibiting the recording of signals from an illegal location was passed at the start of the 2007 season.
  • Everyone knows that Mixed Martial Arts is the combat sport where there are no rules. Except that there are tons of rules. Just as many, if not more, rules than other combat sports like boxing and amateur wrestling. The misconception stems from the early days of the UFC, which had hardly any rules, but it did have a few. In fact, the relative lack of rules was intentional: As early UFC was meant to be a showcase of different fighting styles (wrestling vs. boxing vs. judo vs. kickboxing), the fewer hard/fast rules there were, the freer the participants were to utilize their techniques in full. As more and more fighters began to adopt the style of the dominant Gracie brothers (a mix of grappling and striking), it became easier for UFC to institute more uniform rules.
  • Mention "the underarm incident" to any cricket fan, and they'll know you're talking about the 1981 ODI where the Australian bowler Trevor Chappell bowled an underarm delivery to deny the New Zealand batsman Brian McKechnie a chance to hit a six and win the game off the last ball. All correct, except for the last bit: New Zealand was actually 6 points behind Australia and could only aim for a tie by hitting a six.
  • Everyone knows that the Boston Red Sox had the 1986 World Series locked up against the New York Mets when first baseman Bill Buckner let a ground ball bounce between his legs, costing the Red Sox the championship, right? Well...not quite. The Red Sox did come within one strike of winning the Series, and the Mets' winning run of that game did score when the ball went through Buckner's legs, but what everyone forgets is that there was a whole string of Red Sox F-ups in between those things that led to the game being TIED when Buckner made the error. There are a handful of people who could be considered more blameworthy than Buckner for the loss, including Roger Clemens (who, as the starting pitcher, insisted on trying to close out the game despite having a blister on his throwing hand), Calvin Schiraldi (who relieved Clemens and was pitching when the tying runs got on base), catcher Rich Gedman (whose passed ball caused one of the runs to score), and manager John McNamara (who, for sentimental reasons, insisted on having the aging and injured Buckner on the field when the game appeared to be in the bag, rather than the more reliable Dave Stapleton). The other thing people forget is that the Buckner game was game SIX of the Series, which the Sox had previously led 3 games to 2. Buckner's error didn't cause the Mets to win the championship, merely forced Game 7. In the final game, the Sox jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but pitcher Bruce Hurst was unable to hold the lead, and the Mets won the Series. The most egregious part is that Boston fans misblamed Buckner for years, to the point where his kids were harassed in school, until he ended up moving his family to Idaho, where nobody cared about baseball or knew who he was, and working as a car salesman.
  • Everyone knows the term "Soccer" is strictly an American word that was made up by the United States to differentiate Association Football from American Football, and that football is the true name for the sport. Europeans, particularly Brits, have been known to get outright violent over that word. However, "soccer" actually originates in England, not the United States. It is derived from association football, and it spread across the world until it eventually reached the United States, where "soccer" was adopted there and subsequently fell out of use in England. In other words, any Brits who get angry over the word soccer have nobody to blame but themselves. Also, it's not uncommon for someone to say that only Americans use the word soccer. Actually, it's also used in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons examples:
    • The game was directly inspired by The Lord of the Rings, right? No, it wasn't. Gary Gygax hated Tolkien - he only incorporated elements such as halflings and treants on the insistence of his gaming group, who wanted to play as Frodo. He actually drew much of his inspiration from the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber, and Jack Vance's Dying Earth works.
    • D&D players gain extensive knowledge of historical armor types such as plate mail, chainmail, ringmail, splint mail, etc. Incorrect knowledge, to the point of Critical Research Failure. There has historically been exactly one type of armor made from interlocking rings, and its name is simply mail. Likewise, the correct term for "plate mail" is plate armor, and the one for "scale mail" is scale armor. But many more people have played D&D and its various derivatives than have a cursory knowledge of real-world armor.
    • Likewise, a "long sword" is a one-handed sword commonly wielded alongside a shield, right? Wrong, a long sword is a two-handed sword, and is neither light enough nor properly balanced for being used in one hand. The sword commonly referred to as a "long sword" in Dungeons and Dragons is actually more akin to the real life arming sword.
    • The game is heavily steeped in the Occult, and the "deeper" you go into the game, the more you are called upon to actually recite Occultic prayers, cast real spells and summon real demons with incantations based on actual pagan rituals. None of that is true, and is all based on the completely made up testimony of Patricia Pulling, who blamed the game for her son's suicide and later claimed to be an expert on it while attempting to get the game banned. [[note:There is a small kernel of truth to the legend — in the First Edition DMG, there are template summoning circles, some of which look like they may have been cribbed from real-world thaumaturgy, depicted for summoning elementals (and not demons) in the DM's glosses on adjudicating spells. Gary Gygax most likely intended these as an Obvious Rule Patch to make summoning by his players' characters a bit more onerous, time-consuming and expensive (and to give the Killer Game Master some fun if the character screwed it up).]]
  • A Green Sun Prince from Exalted is not necessarily offered their Deal with the Devil after My Greatest Failure. This is nearly always the case, because it's in the nature of mortals to fail — especially in the sort of circumstances that would attract an Exaltation — but if, somehow, against all odds, they manage to succeed, the Infernal Exaltation doesn't just go away. It would take a very unusual person to accept under those conditions, but the offer is still made.

  • One of the most well-known numbers from Chicago is the "Cell Block Tango" (which everyone knows is called "They Had It Coming"), in which six women on trial for murdering their lovers protest their innocence, even though the audience knows better. Except... only three of them make even a flimsy attempt to claim innocence of the crime. June says her husband "ran into my knife. He ran into my knife ten times, and Velma claims to not remember anything between opening the hotel-room door to see her man and her sister getting busy and "washing the blood off my hands". The sixth, The Hunyak, actually is innocent. The other three freely admit to it, though they also insist that the murders were justified, for whatever reason.
  • "Pirate" is never rhymed with "pilot" in The Pirates of Penzance, even in the song about Ruth's confusion between the two words.
  • William Shakespeare's plays:
    • Romeo and Juliet:
      • While the famous line "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?" is usually quoted right, more or less, most people are unaware of the true meaning, often believing that Juliet is asking "Where are you Romeo?" Note that "wherefore" does not mean "where", it means "why". Compare "therefore". In other words Juliet is asking why Romeo must be who he is, a member of the family with which her own family has a long-standing feud.
      • Also, "star-crossed lovers" is not a synonym for "happily ever after". It means they have crossed or defied their fates, the stars. They die. There's a reason the Star-Crossed Lovers trope means a relationship is doomed to failure.
    • Hamlet's "The lady doth protest too much, methinks" doesn't mean she complains in a suspiciously over-the-top manner. It means that she promises more than she can reasonably deliver.
    • The Taming of the Shrew ends with a woman giving a speech about how great it is to be subservient to a man. Technically true, but the introduction establishes that the play is actually a Play Within a Play performed for a drunkard tricked into thinking he's a nobleman for shits and giggles. In that light, it comes across as more of a critical look at male fantasies about subservience than an endorsement of it.
    • Many assume that the line, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers," from Henry VI Part 2 is an Evil Lawyer Joke. A joke, yes, but targeted at the speaker, not lawyers; the line is often spoken way out of context. Fist of all, the speaker - Dick the Butcher - is a thug and a killer. Second, he was saying this in reply to his friend Jack's scheme to revolt against the King, or rather, his plans should they succeed. (In a more modern setting, the joke may have started by Jack saying, "When I'm the King, there'll be two cars in every garage, and a chicken in every pot" but Dick interrupting and shouting, "AND NO LAWYERS!") In Shakespeare's time, lawyers were regarded as the protectors of truth, and Dick, being the scum he was, wanted to get rid of such people.
  • Les Misérables
    • It does not take place during The French Revolution, but the song "Do You Hear The People Sing" is frequently assumed to refer to it. It does, however, take place during a French revolution (one of many) just not The French Revolution. A highly unsuccessful French revolution.
    • Jean Valjean was not an innocent man wrongly imprisoned, as a lot of people (including some of those responsible for the show) seem to believe. It was the length of his sentence (five years of hard labor for stealing bread to feed his sister's children) that Valjean felt was unjust, as well as the fact that he was given fourteen more years for repeated escape attempts, and that his ex-convict status made it impossible to find lodging or honest work when he was released.

  • My Little Pony Tales is not G2. My Little Pony is a toy-line before anything else, its generations are defined by the toys. G2 started in the late 90s years after Tales, and it had a very noticeable Art Shift from G1 that makes it very distinguishable from other gens. Despite this newer fans near constantly refer to Tales as G2.

     Visual Novels 
  • Rena from Higurashi: When They Cry is very often mistaken for a yandere. She is not. She's at most a yangire character and even then most of her most famous creepy moments are because the protagonist is delusional. Rena is overprotective about her friends and father, however Shion is the closest thing to a yandere the series has.

  • Something*Positive's creator R.K. Milholland gets a lot of complaints grounded in this trope from readers; the most common objection is "Your comic didn't used to be mean," despite the fact that the main character sent a coat hanger to an ex-girlfriend as a baby shower present in the first strip.
  • College Roomies from Hell!!!'s trio of male protagonists all acquired a mutant ability: Mike's arm was replaced with a super strong tentacle, Dave got laser vision, and Roger got an eye in his hand (not his were-coyote nature, even though that's often mistakenly cited; he had that already). The confusion arises because this is what Roger uses when they have to fight, alongside the others' abilities, and because the eye in the hand hasn't been mentioned in a long time.
  • Penny and Aggie are not Canadian. In early strips, T and Gisèle put them in a purposefully ambiguous location on the Eastern Seaboard, and due to a previous collaboration by them set in Canada, many assumed this one to be set there as well, some ex-readers or (very) casual readers still so assuming. However, as strip became more plot-driven, T was forced to choose a side of the border, and the setting is now unarguably American even to someone who's only read the comic proper.
  • For Homestuck a lot of the time, all non-fans really know is that the main characters/most popular characters are the grey-skinned alien trolls. Nope - the trolls don't arrive until act 4 (after a couple of brief pesterlogs in act 3), and then not in person until act 5, and while they're not all minor characters they are definitely subordinate to the kids. Also, while they're certainly popular with the fandom, the fact that they show up so often in fanart is probably more to do with the fact that there are a hell of a lot of them, and that Andrew Hussie is very, very good at characterization, so even the Those Two Guys equivalents have quite distinct personalities.

    Web Original 
  • There is a rumour going around in certain Hat Films fan circles that Alex "Alsmiffy" Smith is in the Territorial Army (basically the British equivalent of the National Guard). Not only is Smiffy not in the British Army at all (in reality, all the pics of him in camo gear are from him playing Airsoft), but the Territorial Army does not even exist any more, having been replaced by the Army Reserves. He addresses it in this video and on Twitter.
  • A large number of fans argue that the Yogscast Minecraft Series is the first set of videos that the Yogscast did. While it certainly projected them into the public eye, it is not true. Their first videos were actually World of Warcraft ones, and were enough for them to develop a small but devoted fandom.
  • The villain of the first Don't Hug Me I'm Scared video is officially named "Sketchbook", not "Notepad". They are also officially of unknown gender though fans near exclusively consider Sketchbook female.
  • On Reddit:
    • Users tend to believe that the guy who had a sexual relationship with his mother had broken both of his arms, leading to tons of inside jokes about how you should call your mom for "help" if you break your arm or similarly. In reality, he simply said he was disabled, not how he was disabled, so it’s unknown if his arms were broken.
    • Another famous inside joke is referring to someone as "Kevin" if they admit that they, as children, thought that dogs were always male and cats was always female. This comes from a story about a weird kid named Kevin who supposedly thought this. However, what Kevin actually thought was that cats and dogs were the same animal, not that cats or dogs were single-gendered. People tend to mix up this story with the aforementioned common childhood belief.