Finishing Each Other's Sentences

Cindy: It looks like we have a lot in ...
Tom: Common.
Cindy: We're already finishing each other's ...
Tom: Dinner!
Cindy: Sentences.

We've all heard it before... literally. Some people know each other so well, they finish each other's sentences. The effect is usually a demonstration of how close the two people are— they're so familiar with one another, they even think alike.

Generally comes in two forms— the single line and the complex dialogue. The single line goes something like,
Bob: Where are my damn—
Alice: Glasses? Check your head.

The complex dialogue is more elaborate:
Bob: Where are my damn—
Alice: Glasses? Did you check your—
Bob: Yes, my head is always the first place I look, thank you very much.
Alice: Mom was right, I should never have married—
Bob: "A forgetful lout like you," yeah, I know.

Closeness and familiarity aren't the only reason for this trope. Others include:

  • Lampshading a Catch Phrase or Arc Words
    Alice: This looks like a job for—
    Bob: Someone else.
  • Mocking someone for their clichéd ideas:
    Alice: Superman will—
    Bob: Rescue you? I think not.
  • Last-Second Word Swap (especially when the audience was expecting it to rhyme):
    Alice: That sexy young farmer has an enormous—
    Bob: Potato gun!
  • Making a quick gag by having the finished sentence be nothing at all like what the first person was going to say.
    Alice: Maybe we should—
    Bob: Tie a banana on its nose and conga under its legs!
    Alice: I was going to say call the police.
  • Showing that two people who don't know each other are thinking the same thing.
    Alice: Maybe we should—
    Bob: Cross the streams—
    Alice: And reverse the polarity—
    Bob: To raise the deflector shields! Marry me.
  • And more!

This trait is often found in Creepy Twins, Single-Minded Twins, and Sickeningly Sweethearts, but hardly restricted to them— lovers, parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, enemies, even strangers can do this. And while we're at it, it doesn't have to be only two— loads of people can get in on the act, although it might start to stretch credibility. Also present as a way of showing that two characters are telepathic or are parts of a Hive Mind.

If the characters are built around this trope, it's a sign of a big problem when they don't finish each other's sentences. If one character is a psychic, expect the other to shout something like, "Get out of my head!" Or even if they aren't psychic, if it happens often enough.

A similar effect is having characters Finish Dialogue in Unison. Two Scenes, One Dialogue and Distant Duet have characters finishing each other's sentences without even being in the same scene. Compare Strange Minds Think Alike, Catchphrase Interruptus, Speak In Unison.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • The twins Hikaru and Kaoru in Ouran High School Host Club do this sometimes. In Haruhi's Alice in Wonderland dream, they played the Cheshire Cat and appeared alternatingly from different sides, finishing each other's sentences as they talked to Haruhi.
  • Happens in the finale of Stellvia of the Universe between Richard James and Carl Hutter when the two are having a few drinks on a desolate space station deck. James raises a toast, starting with "To the future...", and Hutter completes the sentence instantly, in the same tone: "...of humanity!" This is especially poignant, considering how Hutter is a shape-shifting Starfish Alien in disguise... and James knows it.
  • While not the most typical example of twins, in Cardcaptor Sakura, Yue and Cerberus pick a climactic moment during the final judgment to suddenly start finishing each other's sentences—with multiple clauses, no less. In fact, despite their apparent hostility toward each other at the time, it becomes nearly impossible to distinguish exactly who is speaking at some points.
  • Gunslinger Girl. Cyborg technician Louis Duvalier has beautiful twin assistants who do this. They even move in unison.
  • Death Note has Light and L often finishing each other's mental sentences, right down to knowing exactly what the other was planning, knowing that they knew and trying to counter this. During the Yotsuba arc, Light and L also finish each other sentences out loud, showing just how much they think alike.
  • Koizumi and Otani from Lovely Complex are so (unintentionally) good at this that they (again, unintentionally) become a comedy sensation at their school.
  • Some of Arron and Gurran's early dialogue in Armored Trooper VOTOMS consisted of this, when it wasn't just Twin Banter.
  • In Detective Conan, whenever Conan and Heiji get to work together in a case they will often finish each other's deductions, demonstrating not only abilities as detectives, but also their familiarity with each other.
  • In A Certain Scientific Railgun, the Sisters initially switch which is speaking every few words.
  • Fine and Rein from Fushigiboshi No Futagohime tend to finish each other's sentences when they don't Speak In Unison.

    Comics 
  • In the Scott Pilgrim books, Ken and Kyle Katayanagi often finish each other's sentences with their reasoning behind it being that they would always work together after Ramona cheated on them behind their backs. This was obviously not in the movie as the only line the Twins have in the film is "Hah!" during a fight sequence.

    Fanfic 
  • The Weasley Twins from Harry Potter are popularly portrayed this way in fan fiction, even though they're not an example in canon. They don't complete each other's sentences in the books; rather, one will follow the other with the next appropriate sentence — they do not share a single mind, but simply think very much alike. The movies are more guilty of playing it straight, however.
    • The ideal is Lampshaded in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, which features a section focusing on the Twins and indicating something magical is at work. They don't actually share one mind, but come to the same conclusions when they have the same information. When one of them thinks differently than the other, they both feel uncomfortable until they share what they know and snap back.

    Film—Animation 
  • The Fates from Disney's Hercules do this, most noticeably in their introduction, when they're giving Hades the prophecy.
  • Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee in Disney's Alice in Wonderland (but not in the original book).
  • The twins in Barbie in A Christmas Carol.
  • In Frozen Hans and Anna combine this with Strange Minds Think Alike when Anna completes his line about how people who are in love finish each others - sandwiches, and Hans exclaims that that's just what he was going to say. This turns out to be a lie. He's trying to get her to marry him as part of his plan to usurp the kingdom.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, the troublemakers Lock Shock and Barrel do this at their introduction.

    Film—Live Action 
  • Subverted in Scary Movie 4:
    Cindy Campbell: It looks like we have a lot in...
    Tom Ryan: ...common.
    Cindy: We're already finishing each other's...
    Tom: ...dinner!
    Cindy: ...sentences.
  • The twins from Snatch do this.
  • In Stuart Little, Mr. and Mrs. Little do this so frequently that they panic when they don't. Stuart cutely lampshades this as he hears his future adoptive parents do this for the first time.
  • From Dead Men Dont Wear Plaid:
    Field Marshal Von Kluck: We were able to dupe Dr. Forrest by posing as a humanitary organization, who planned to wipe out hunger, by ageing cheese faster.
    Rigby Reardon: But when your father finally saw what they were doing...
    Field Marshal Von Kluck: —he began to assemble lists of names of our agents...
    Rigby Reardon: —and seemed about to go to the FBI.
    Field Marshal Von Kluck: We were zerfore obliged to kidnap him, drug him ang bring him...
    Rigby Reardon: —here! First faking his death so there'd be no further investigation.
    Field Marshal Von Kluck: But vile testing ze mold on a small island nearby...
    Rigby Reardon: —the cruise ship "Immer Essen" passed by. Some of the passengers saw the tiny island dissolve.
    Field Marshal Von Kluck: Zey were zerfore labeled "enemies" because of what zey haf seen. We had Walter Neff cancel all further tours and our...
    Rigby Reardon, Field Marshal Von Kluck: —friends systematically began to eliminate everyone who was on that cruise ship.
    Field Marshal Von Kluck: Schweinehund!
    Rigby Reardon: Jerk!
  • In Bridesmaids, the main character is talking to a smugly newlywed couple and asks where they went on their honeymoon. They both say, "Disney World," and then the wife adds, "Sorry, we finish each other's sentences," as if there was any way they weren't both going to say the same thing.
  • The Weasley twins occasionally speak this way in the Harry Potter films. They very much are not an example of this in the books, however.

    Literature 
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Lapis Lazuli Long and Lorelei Lee Long are clone sisters who do this. They first appear in his novel Time Enough for Love and show up in his later novels.
    • Castor and Pollux Stone, twin brothers from The Rolling Stones, do the same to their father's annoyance.
  • There is a James Thurber short story about this, called "The Curb in the Sky," where the trope has harrowing consequences.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry and Hermione do this sometimes, such as in Deathly Hallows when they discover what happened to Gryffindor's sword.
    • Fred and George Weasley are not an example, although they are popularly portrayed that way in Fan Fiction. They don't complete each other's sentences in the books; rather, one will follow the other with the next appropriate sentence — they do not share a single mind, but simply think very much alike. The movies are much more guilty of playing this trope straight with them.
  • The twins Beltira and Belkira from the Belgariad and prequels.
    "Belgarath, our brother," one of them said, "it's been such—" "—a terribly long time," the other finished.
    "Beltira," Belgarath said. "Belkira." He dismounted and embraced the twins.
    "Dearest little Polgara," one of them said then. "The Vale has been-" the other started.
    "—empty without you," the second completed. He turned to his brother. "That was very poetic," he said admiringly.
    "Thank you," the first replied modestly.
  • Elenium by the same author.
    • Danae and Sarabian
      'Right,' she agreed. 'Tamul skin tone would be better with—'
      'But not red-red, though. More scarlet, perhaps even—'
      'No. Maroon's too dark. It's a ball, not a—'
      'We don't wear dark clothes at funerals. We wear—'
      'Really? That's a very interesting notion. Why do you—?'
      'It's considered insulting to—'
      'The dead? They don't really mind, Sarabian. They're busy someplace else.'
    • Danae, however, has the added advantage of being the goddess Aphrael, so her intellect would obviously surpass that of Sarabian's, as she says he is not so bad himself when he comments that she is a stimulating conversationalist.
  • This was one of the traits that gave M*A*S*H's 'Radar' O'Reilly his nickname, and one of the parts of the book faithfully translated into the subsequent film and television series.
  • Dragons and their riders in Inheritance Cycle, notably Oromis and Glaedr in Eldest and Eragon and Saphira in Brisingr.
  • A variant in the Starcraft novel Liberty's Crusade. Kerrigan, being a telepath, tends to finish other people's sentences out of habit, which annoys just about everyone else. When she's leaving for her totally-not-a-date with Raynor after the Antiga mission, Liberty's last bit of advice is "remember to let him finish his damn sentences".
  • In The Hunger Games, Wiress tends to trail off or just stop speaking abruptly in the middle of her sentences, at which point Beetee finishes them.
  • In Spindle's End by Robin McKinley, Rosie and her best friend Peony take this one step further.
    You finish each other's sentences half the time — or sometimes, if you think no one else is listening, you don't bother to finish them because you both know what you were going to say.
  • Lampshaded in Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception. Mervall and Descant are twins, which are very rare among fairies.
    "We're thinking of writing a book, aren't we, Merv? All about how we..."
    "Finish each other's sentences," completed Merv, though he knew it would cost him.
    "Shut up, you utter imbecile," snapped Opal, shooting Merv a poisonous glare.
  • Reynolds and Claude's promotion interview in the penultimate chapter of The Pale King. Chris incredulously wonders how long they had to practice it.
  • The Judy Blume book Double Fudge features single-minded twins Flora and Fauna Hatcher, who do this constantly - much to Peter's annoyance.
  • The Force-Sensitive Tash Arranda in Galaxy of Fear often finds herself finishing people's sentences.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • Fitz-Simmons do this a lot, since by the time the show begins they've been firmly established in their relationship as The Dividual for years. They also have a tendency to talk over one another using synonyms before finishing a sentence simultaneously on the same word. The first episode where they're sent on separate missions shows Simmons attempting to finish Skye's sentences during moments of anxiety over Fitz's well-being - which she can do quite accurately, it seems, which doesn't make it any less annoying for Skye.
    • Season Two reprises this trait in a very dark way, since Fitz-Simmons' relationship has been completely destroyed by Fitz's Dying Declaration of Love and the brain damage he sustained performing the Heroic Sacrifice to save Simmons. While he relies on an imaginary version of her to supply the words that have been destroyed by his aphasia, when he's finally reunited with the real Simmons she's unable to do so, effectively providing an Inversion of this trope. They start doing so again more later in the season, providing something of a Hope Spot over the complicated state of their relationship.
  • Star Trek: Voyager. Subverted when Seven of Nine interrupts Captain Janeway this way; they might be on the same page, but it's a sign of her arrogance that she interrupts the captain.
  • On It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dennis finishes Mac's sentences for him when the latter can't think of the right word, to emphasize their Like an Old Married Couple status (and Mac's bad grasp of vocabulary).

    Theatre 
  • In Pokémon Live!, Jessie and James do this quite a bit, both in songs and in dialogue.

    Video Games 
  • The Lutece twins in BioShock Infinite do this so much that they actually Lampshade it while they're doing it. This becomes doubly justified when it turns out that they're actually not twins at all, but Alternate Universe variations on the same person, with gender being literally the only difference between them - meaning that they think and react the same way to everything and that the implication they've lived the same or similar scenarios dozens of times already, so they're pretty good at guessing what's going to happen next anyway.