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Can overlap with ShapedLikeItself when the question is seeking a description, and with CaptainObvious, as these answers tend to be self-evident for anyone with a brain. Usually doubles as a CrypticallyUnhelpfulAnswer, when the "mathematician" is deliberately trying to confound the questioner. Compare NonAnswer, which is a vague "answer" which does not answer the question at all. Mildly related to WhatsAHenway and NotActuallyTheUltimateQuestion. And don't forget that the person giving the Mathematician's Answer is [[WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}} "technically correct... the best kind of correct."]] Can also overlap with ComicallyMissingThePoint if the speaker genuinely thinks he/she is giving an answer.

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Can overlap with ShapedLikeItself when the question is seeking a description, and with CaptainObvious, as these answers tend to be self-evident for anyone with a brain. Usually doubles as a CrypticallyUnhelpfulAnswer, when the "mathematician" is deliberately trying to confound the questioner. Compare NonAnswer, which is a vague "answer" which does not answer the question at all. Mildly related to WhatsAHenway and NotActuallyTheUltimateQuestion. And don't forget that the person giving the Mathematician's Answer is [[WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}} "technically correct... the best kind of correct."]] Can also overlap with ComicallyMissingThePoint if the speaker genuinely thinks he/she is giving an answer.


Such examples are often used in linguistics and philosophy of language to illustrate how context and convention determine implicit meaning: "Do you have any spare pillows?" "Yes. Thank you for asking". People do not usually ask for trivial information or information they already possess, which is how competent speakers know not to provide the Mathematician's Answer. This is also a favorite of English teachers and {{Grammar Nazi}}s, frequently going through something similar to "Can I come in?" "I don't know, ''can you''?" "Uh, '''may''' I come in?".

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Such examples are often used in linguistics and philosophy of language to illustrate how context and convention determine implicit meaning: "Do you have any spare pillows?" "Yes. Thank you for asking". asking." People do not usually ask for trivial information or information they already possess, which is how competent speakers know not to provide the Mathematician's Answer. This is also a favorite of English teachers and {{Grammar Nazi}}s, frequently going through something similar to "Can I come in?" "I don't know, ''can you''?" "Uh, '''may''' I come in?".


* When Malvolio tells Olivia that a man wants to see her and will not be turned away:

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* ** When Malvolio tells Olivia that a man wants to see her and will not be turned away:

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* When conducting a job interview, it's generally considered bad practice to ask questions that lend themselves to a simple yes/no answer, because such questions don't really do much to evaluate the candidate. So instead of asking "Have you ever done X?", a better question would be "Tell me about a time when you did X."


* You're probably wondering why "[[VideoGame/{{Portal}} the cake is a lie]], but pi is always true". The point of the joke is that in many settings, especially computer programming, "false" is represented by the value 0 and "true" by any other value. Pi isn't zero, so it's true. A related joke quoted on Bash.org:
-->(morganj): 0 is false and 1 is true, correct?
-->(alec_eso): 1, morganj
-->(morganj): bastard.
** Zero divided by zero gains some {{Fridge Brilliance}} because of this. [[note]]Ignoring the obvious undetermined error and following all the other division rules, 0 ÷ 0 = 1 , and since any value other than zero means 'true'... [[/note]]

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* Any time a {{heel}} in ProfessionalWrestling claims they won a match fair and square completely by themselves when they obviously took advantage of interference from a friend or from their {{face}} opponent's enemy to weaken the opponent for either their FinishingMove or directly for the pin cover. After all, the 3-count pin itself was entirely done by the heel in the match themselves, right?


** In one of the ''Ronald & Me'' commercials, Ronald, teaching mathematics, puts a different number of potatoes in each of his pants pockets and asks the kids what he has now. His pants fall down, and one of the potatoes answers "Really heavy pants."

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** In one of the ''Ronald & Me'' commercials, Ronald, teaching mathematics, puts a different number of potatoes in each of his pants pockets and asks the kids what he has now. His pants fall down, and one of the potatoes answers "Really heavy pants."" I guess we could call it an inversion, this being a non-mathematical answer in an example involving actual math.


** In one of the ''Ronald & Friends'' commercials, Ronald, teaching mathematics, puts a different number of potatoes in each of his pants pockets and asks the kids what he has now. His pants fall down, and one of the potatoes answers "Really heavy pants."

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** In one of the ''Ronald & Friends'' Me'' commercials, Ronald, teaching mathematics, puts a different number of potatoes in each of his pants pockets and asks the kids what he has now. His pants fall down, and one of the potatoes answers "Really heavy pants."


** In one of the ''Ronald & Friends'' commercials, Ronald, teaching mathematics, puts a different number of potatoes in each of his pants pockets and asks the kids what (number) he has in all. His pants fall down, and one of the potatoes answers "Really heavy pants."

to:

** In one of the ''Ronald & Friends'' commercials, Ronald, teaching mathematics, puts a different number of potatoes in each of his pants pockets and asks the kids what (number) he has in all.now. His pants fall down, and one of the potatoes answers "Really heavy pants."

Added DiffLines:

** In one of the ''Ronald & Friends'' commercials, Ronald, teaching mathematics, puts a different number of potatoes in each of his pants pockets and asks the kids what (number) he has in all. His pants fall down, and one of the potatoes answers "Really heavy pants."

Added DiffLines:

* A typical line from Rotom Dex in the anime version of ''VideoGame/PokemonSunAndMoon'' does this whenever forced to choose between two or more equal probabilities. "I calculate a 50% chance that our friends went this way, and a 50% chance that they went this other way!" Other characters are quick to point out that he's not being very helpful, assuming they don't just ignore him entirely.


* Zen UsefulNotes/{{Buddhism}} has a {{koan}} like this. A monk asked Zhàozhōu, "Does a dog have Buddha nature or not?" Zhàozhōu said, "Wú." This is a rare example in which the mathematician's answer is actually the most useful one. Wú essentially means "null" or "not applicable" (or in [[JustForFun/TVTropesWillRuinYourVocabulary troper speak]], a FlatWhat), the point being that the monk asking the question is wrong to assume that the two dichotomous categories have any meaning. Wú is also the sound a dog makes.

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* Zen UsefulNotes/{{Buddhism}} has a {{koan}} like this. A monk asked Zhàozhōu, "Does a dog have Buddha nature or not?" Zhàozhōu said, "Wú." This is a rare example in which the mathematician's answer is actually the most useful one. Wú essentially means "null" or "not applicable" (or in [[JustForFun/TVTropesWillRuinYourVocabulary troper speak]], a FlatWhat), saying that the question is like asking WhenIsPurple) The point being is that the monk asking the question is wrong to assume that the two dichotomous categories have any meaning. Wú is also the sound a dog makes.


* MathematiciansAnswer/WesternAnimation



[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'': Fred Fredburger once resolved a court case by saying "yes" to an either-or question, resulting in both parties winning. [[TheFool This was not on purpose]].
** Another episode has Billy and Irwin [[ItMakesSenseInContext sucked into Cthulhu's world through a supernatural phone, leaving only their shoes behind]]. Mandy questions the latter part, with Grim giving a [[RealityEnsues realistic answer]] [[VoodooShark that still doesn't explain why they or the rest of their clothes could go in]].
---> '''Mandy''': Why didn't their shoes go too?
---> '''Grim''': Shoes can't fit through the phone, silly, they're way too big!
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'':
** A very funny example by the mayor of Quahog Adam West:
--->'''Adam West''': Will you answer one question for me?
--->'''Medium''': Yes.
--->'''Adam West''': Thank you so much.
** West himself loves doing this:
---> '''Tricia Takanawa''': Mr. West, do you have any words for our viewers?
---> '''Adam West''': Box, toaster, aluminum, maple syrup... no, I take that one back. I'm gonna hold onto that one.
** He has it done to him in "E Peterbus Unum'':
--->''(Peter is dancing in the park and generally causing a commotion.)''\\
'''Adam West:''' What in God's name is he doing?!\\
'''Cleveland:''' I believe it's called the Worm.
** In one episode, when filling out a hospital form, upon reaching "Sex", Peter wrote "No, thank you".
* In one episode of ''[[ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}} The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show]]'', Charlie Brown regains consciousness on a sidewalk as two little kids watch. Charlie gets up and asks one of the kids, "Where am I?" One of the kids points to him and says, "Right there!"
* In ''WesternAnimation/InfinityTrain'', after Tulip sees she's on the inside of a lengthy train filled with numerous rooms containing fascinating features along with One-One.
-->'''Tulip:''' How does this door work? Are you like a real robot? Are there other people on here? Is this what trains are like?\\
'''One-One:''' Yes!\\
'''Tulip:''' Yes to what? Which?\\
'''One-One:''' I dunno.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': In the GrandFinale, a conflicted Aang calls upon the spirits of his four most recent incarnation, Avatars Roku, Kyoshi, Kuruk and Yangchen, to advise him on whether he should kill Ozai. All of the Avatar spirits gave a Mathematician's Answer of one sort or another; Roku's advice is to "be decisive", Kyoshi said "only justice will bring peace", Kuruk said to "actively shape the fate of the world", and Yangchen said "do whatever it takes to protect the world". All of these apply equally accurately to either killing Ozai or any number of other options that might have been attempted, though Aang regards them as being implicit endorsements of killing. In the end, [[spoiler:a Lion Turtle taught him Energybending, which Aang used to strip Ozai of his Firebending and render him powerless, instead of killing him]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', Korra's cousin Eska has this exchange with Bolin shortly after they meet.
-->'''Eska''': You amuse me. I will make you mine.\\
'''Bolin''': You mean like a boyfriend or a slave?\\
'''Eska''': Yes. Now win me prizes.
* ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'' provides us with another example. Boris, in one of his {{Paper Thin Disguise}}s, needs Bullwinkle to go to a particular location. His scheme is to have Bullwinkle win a trip in a contest. The trick, then, is to get the [[TheDitz exceedingly dense]] Bullwinkle to actually give the correct answer to a question, which he finally accomplishes with this exchange.
-->'''Boris''': Do you know who is buried in Grant's tomb?
-->'''Bullwinkle''': No.
-->'''Boris''': That's right, you don't!
* In ''[[WesternAnimation/TotalDrama Total Drama World Tour]]'' while lost in a desert in Egypt:
-->'''Heather:''' Does anyone know where we are?
-->'''[[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Izzy:]]''' Planet Earth, silly.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** A variation on the theme, but still very much holds the original idea: In "Homer's Enemy", when Bart and Milhouse get their own warehouse, Milhouse is left behind as a night watchman. Bart comes back the next day to find the place destroyed.
--->'''Bart:''' Milhouse, how could you let this happen? You were supposed to be the night watchman!
--->'''Milhouse:''' I was watching. I saw the whole thing. First it started falling over, then it fell over.
** Homer managed one of these accidentally in "Burns Verkaufen Der Kraftwerk":
--->'''Horst:''' You've been safety inspector for three years. What initiatives have you spearheaded in that time?
--->'''Homer:''' Uh... all of them?
--->'''Fritz:''' You must have lots of ideas for the future?
--->'''Homer:''' I sure do!
* On an episode of ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'' in a ComicStrip/USAcres segment, Wade is being his usual cowardly self, this time about seeing a doctor. Orson tries to reassure him, but Roy can't miss an opportunity to have a laugh at his expense.
-->'''Orson:''' What a minute. You're not a surgeon Roy.
-->'''(Doctor)Roy:''' I operated on a man just yesterday.
-->'''Orson:''' For what?
-->'''Roy:''' For 900 dollars.
-->'''Orson:''' No, no. What did the man have?
-->'''Roy:''' 900 dollars.
-->'''Orson:''' No, I mean what did you remove?!
-->'''Roy(playing with a ball and paddle):''' The 900 dollars.
-->'''Orson:''' No! What was his complaint?!
-->'''Orson and Roy:''' The 900 dollars.
-->'''Orson:''' OK Roy, you carve.
* From ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'', the episode ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0809025/ No One Comes To Lupusville]]'':
-->'''Lita:''' (offers Egon a turnip) Turnip?
-->'''Egon:''' Yes, it is.
* The ''WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHead'' episode "Customers Suck" has a customer in Burger World ask if the shakes are made from real milk and ice cream or shake mix. Beavis just says "Yeah."
* In the ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' episode "Culture Shock", [=SpongeBob=] asks Squidward which brand of soap he should use: Mr. Cleanser or [[BlandNameProduct Dr. Clean]]? Squidward's response: "Yes."
* Fred the squirrel from ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar'', being LiteralMinded incarnate, has a bit of a problem with this. If he's asked if he can read something, he'll say "yes". If someone asks him to show them the town, he'll just point to the nearest buildings.
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' co-creator Dan Povenmire was asked by a fan on Twitter "What is Ferb short for?" He [[https://twitter.com/DanPovenmire/status/398613075290378240 responded]], "Brevity's sake."
** Another episode has Candace giving this kind of answer when [[LoonyFan Irving]] stops by:
--->'''Irving:''' (knocks on the door) Can I see [Phineas and Ferb]?
--->'''Candace:''' Probably not from there. (closes the door)
** "Crack That Whip":
--->'''Phineas:''' (As an announcer) Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's main event. The "anything goes" grudge race of the century between Grandma Betty Jo and Grandma Hildegard. I'm Phineas Flynn, and I'll be your announcer for today's action, along with our color commentator, Grandpa Clyde!
--->'''Clyde:''' Yellow, green, blue!
--->'''Phineas:''' Excellent color, Grandpa.
* Used to answer an actual math question in an episode of ''Literature/LittleBear'' when Little Bear and Emily rope the 4 local {{Playful Otter}}s into playing school with them. After trying to teach them how to count, Emily asks the otters how many of them there are. They each answer "1" -- because "each of us is 1 otter!" There's a beat before Little Bear admits, "That's true..."
* In the ''WesternAnimation/ThreeTwoOnePenguins'' episode "Trouble on Planet Wait-Your-Turn", when Jason asks where they're going, Kevin ponders briefly before answering "Up."
* ''WesternAnimation/DangerMouse'' gives us:
-->'''Penfold:''' You mean, we're lost?!\\
'''Danger Mouse:''' Nonsense, Penfold. If we were lost, we wouldn't know where we are. And ''we'' know we're ''here!'' Therefore, we can't be lost.
-->'''Penfold:''' Oh! Thank goodness for that!
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' gives a subjective mathematician's answer.
-->'''Street Sign''' You are now approaching Elmore
-->Population: Weird
* ''WesternAnimation/XMen'' makes its very first exposure to ComicBook/{{Gambit}}, right after he throws one of his exploding cards:
-->'''Jubilee:''' How did you DO that?
-->'''Gambit:''' With style, petite, with style.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'', there is the following exchange:
-->'''T.J.:''' Mr. Mayor, can I say something?
-->'''Mayor Fitzhugh:''' I don't know, can you?
-->'''T.J.(looking annoyed):''' Sorry, sir. ''May'' I say something?
* The titular ''WesternAnimation/{{Dilbert}}'' gives us this when he, Alice, and Wally are crawling through the air ducts and inexplicably find a dry-erase marker in the shaft:
--> '''Alice:''' Why would someone leave a dry-erase marker here?
--> '''Dilbert:''' Maybe it's empty.
--> '''Alice:''' That answer is like... so stupid.
* During the Q&A episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Villainous}}'', Flug gets the question of how did he and Demencia arrive to Black Hat Organization.
--> '''Dr. Flug''': "Easy. I arrived by plane, and Dementia arrived barefoot."
[[/folder]]


* MathematiciansAnswer/WebOriginal



[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Frequently Given Answers page makes a [[http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jonathan.deboynepollard/FGA/questions-with-yes-or-no-answers.html serious attempt]] to inform unsuspecting answer-seekers how to avoid this trope, when asking questions of places frequented mainly by the overly literal.
* [[WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment Spoony's]] take on the changes to Yuna between ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' and ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2''.
-->'''Spoony:''' Quite a long way from the traditional kimono she wore before, and her previous characterization as a kind, demure, religious care-giver with a tragic fate. But is this huge change in outfit and characterization because of the radical cultural shift in Spira because of the exposure of Yevon as a maniacal, genocidal cult run by the undead bent on world domination... or just because Japanese perverts want to see some cleavage and her cute ass in boyshorts? Good question... The answer is "Yes".
* ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'':
-->'''Butarega:''' King Vegeta, I have urgent news!\\
'''King Vegeta:''' Speak, Butarega.\\
'''Butarega:''' Bardock has gone absolutely mad, Sire!\\
'''Bardock:''' ''(off in the distance)'' FREEZA!!\\
'''King Vegeta:''' What's all the commotion about?\\
'''Butarega:''' He's been telling everyone that Freeza plans to destroy Vegeta!\\
'''King Vegeta:''' Wait, my son, [[{{Egopolis}} the planet]], or me?\\
'''Butarega:''' ...[[KillEmAll Yes]].\\
''(Butarega is blasted by King Vegeta)''\\
'''King Vegeta:''' [[OffingTheMouth Freakin' smartass]].
** King Vegeta does it ''again'' in ''Broly - The Legendary Super Saiyan Abridged'' when Paragus begs him to try to spare Broly's life and he falls into the same trap Butarega did.
* The main character of ''WebVideo/AskANinja'' loves to do this, especially during the "Omnibus" episodes.
-->'''Question''': What is integral theory?\\
'''Ninja''': Complicated.\\
'''Question''': Of all the ninja skills in the world, which is the deadliest?\\
'''Ninja''': The one that kills you.
* In Episode 9 of WebVideo/RedLetterMedia's ''Best of the Worst'', the group's initial enjoyment of ''Film/TheAmazingBulk'', as Mike explains, is quickly extinguished by the question of whether the movie is a sincere attempt to make a visually stylized film in the vein of ''Film/SinCity'', an intentionally SoBadItsGood movie in an effort to rival the popularity of ''Film/{{Birdemic}}'' or ''Film/TheRoom'', or the straight {{mockbuster}} it appears to be.
--> '''Jay''': The answer is yes.
--> '''Mike''': Which one?
--> '''Jay''': Mmhmm.
* Geoff from Creator/AchievementHunter is fond of these, from time to time. For instance, in a heated game of Halo 4:
--> '''Ray''': ''(after Geoff kills him)'' "What?!"
--> '''Geoff''': "Uh, that was me killing you."
--> '''Ray''': "Yeah, thanks, but with what?"
--> '''Geoff''': "With a gun."
--> '''Ray''': "Thanks man."
* Website/NotAlwaysRight:
** [[http://notalwaysright.com/parts-laboring-the-obvious/18232 This]] exchange:
--->'''Customer:''' I need a tire for a 2010 Honda Accord.
--->'''Me:''' What do you have on there now?
---> '''Customer:''' A flat tire.
** [[http://notalwaysright.com/at-least-this-customer-is-honest/38 This]] customer.
** [[http://notalwaysright.com/candid-camera-candid-answer/3721 This one too.]] What does your camera take? Pictures!
* ''WebVideo/AskThatGuyWithTheGlasses'' sometimes gives these answers.
-->'''Q''': Are there any "dead" celebrities that you think are actually still alive?
-->'''A''': Yes.
* During [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara's]] "That Guy With The Hat" sketch (parodying ''WebVideo/AskThatGuyWithTheGlasses'' (mentioned above), "Can you tell me how to get back onto the freeway?" is answered "NO."
* ''Literature/SkippysList'' offers the following.
--> '''Skippy's Roommate:''' Is that a squid in our shower?\\
'''Skippy:''' Yep.\\
'''Skippy's Roommate:''' What's it doing in there?\\
'''Skippy:''' Thawing.\\
'''Skippy's Roommate:''' Goodnight.
* ''WebVideo/UltraFastPony''. "Sister Angst" opens with Rarity's parents paying her house an unscheduled visit. At the episode's end, she finds they're still in her kitchen:
-->'''Rarity:''' What are you two still doing here?\\
'''Magnum:''' Sitting down?\\
''(beat)''\\
'''Rarity:''' Get out of my house.
* In ''Q&A With Matt #3'' by [[WebVideo/MatthewSantoro Matt Santoro]], Matt is asked by a fan where he gets his fancy shirts from, and he says the store.
* Creator/TerryPratchett, explaining the ''Literature/JohnnyMaxwellTrilogy'' on [[Website/{{Usenet}} alt.fan.pratchett]]:
-->So: is what happens in the books real? Yes. Does it all happen in Johnny's head? Yes. Are the Dead a metaphor? Yes. Are they real? Yes. Not just waving, but particalling."
* ''WebVideo/DontHugMeImScared'' has one of these in the fourth episode. When Collin asks the puppets where they live, Duck Guy answers "My house".
* [[spoiler:Rogal Dorn]] from ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'' runs on this trope.
--->Emperor: [[AC:You carry knowledge about the history of your sons, the [[spoiler:Imperial Fists]], yes?]]
--->[[spoiler:Dorn]]: Yes.
--->Emperor: [[AC:Can you bring unto me this knowledge?]]
--->[[spoiler:Dorn]]: Yes.
--->Emperor: [[AC:...Can you do it now?]]
--->[[spoiler:Dorn]]: Yes.
--->Emperor: [[AC:...Fucking do it then.]]
* ''WebAnimation/TheMostPopularGirlsInSchool'': In Episode 3:
-->'''Shay:''' I heard that you're going around calling me a ''fucking liar!''
-->'''Mackenzie:''' Where did you hear that?
-->'''Shay:''' Uh, I don't know, like... thirty-five seconds ago?
-->'''Mackenzie:''' I said "where", not "when", you idiot!
-->'''Shay:''' Shut up! You know I'm partially deaf in my right ear after Matthew Derringer hit me in the head with that fucking hacky sack in the third grade!
* ''WebVideo/GameGrumps'': While playing ''VideoGame/KirbysEpicYarn'', Dan claims his dad is the king of these.
-->'''Danny:''' So do you want pizza or sushi for dinner?
-->'''Avi:''' YES!
-->'''Danny:''' Okay. Piz-sushi it is.
[[/folder]]

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