If Only You Knew
A character says something that connects to a fact or event of which he's unaware
, usually to someone who is in the know. A common variation of this is You Look Like You've Seen a Ghost
. Often shows up in supernatural settings with a Masquerade
, but mundane versions can occur, such as the Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy
telling Sweet Polly Oliver
she "fights like a girl".
Sometimes subverted in that the seemingly Genre Blind
character turns out to be hinting that he does know the truth. If neither the characters nor the audience know about the secret, but find out later, it's Foreshadowing
This is sometimes expressed as "You have no idea" or something along those lines.
Contrast Literal Metaphor
, in which Character A means what he says literally, but Character B takes it as a figure of speech; and the twin tropes It Will Never Catch On
and This Is Going To Be Huge
, where a character in a show set in the past makes often wildly inaccurate predictions about the future for comedic effect. See also Accidental Truth
. Subtrope of Dramatic Irony
Anime and Manga
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- The song "I'll Make a Man Out of You" in Mulan has the line, "Did they send me daughters when I asked for sons?" The commander thinks he's turning boys into men, but of course, with Mulan the starting point is a bit different! Though ironically, she becomes much a more capable soldier than her comrades in arms.
- Daredevil has a scene where Elektra sarcastically asks Matt, "Are you blind?" She apologises profusely when he tells her that, yes, he is.
- Strange Days: When Lenny asks Mace whether she knows what it's like to love someone who doesn't love you back, she responds this way.
- The Incredible Mr. Limpet: George Stickel is trying to explain to Bessie that her husband, Henry, is still alive, but can't tell her the truth: that Henry has turned into a fish.
George: You can't see him. You wouldn't want to.
Bessie: I do want to. How can you say a thing like that? Why can't I see him?
George: It's impossible. His work for the Navy is top-secret. Just be happy with his paycheck. Don't even mention his name to anyone.
Bessie: There's something fishy about this.
George: You said it!
- In Dragon Bones, someone tells Oreg, who looks like seventeen, to "respect his elders" or something to that effect. Oreg, actually an immortal being, who is at that point undercover as cousin of the Hurog family, grins. To be fair, the one he was allegedly impolite towards is older than he looks, too ... but not quite as old as Oreg.
- In Tithe, Kaye's grandmother says during an argument, "You think that it's enough to want things. You think that if you just want and want then you're just going to magically get them." Kaye, who's just found out she's a pixie, doesn't know whether to wince or smirk at the word "magically".
- A Song of Ice and Fire: A prostitute tries to seduce Gendry by claiming that she is King Robert's bastard daughter and points to her sharing Robert's trademark raven black hair as evidence. Arya makes fun of her claims by pointing that Gendry himself has the same hair, so that does not mean much. What none of them knows is that Gendry is actually King Robert's bastard, and that owing to Robert's compulsive womanizing the prostitute is most likely right. Fortunately, Gendry is not in the mood.
- Shinedown has a song entitled If You Only Knew.
- In Teen Titans, in the episode "Homecoming, Part 1", the Titans meet the Doom Patrol. The Doom Patrol expresses skepticism about the competency of the Titans to combat the Brotherhood of Evil, saying something along the lines of "We've been fighting this great evil our whole lives. What have you done?" One of the Titans—having just come from defeating a trans-dimensional demon who pretty much destroyed the world by showing up—responds, "You have no idea."