- Randall Munroe of xkcd apparently does not like it when people try this on him. Black Hat Guy shares his distaste in one Indulgent Fantasy Segue.
- An early arc in PvP features Brent DM-ing a particularly tyrannical game of Dungeons & Dragons. During one instance Francis rolls to see if his character runs into any traps in a dungeon.Francis: I roll to detect traps.
Brent: You don't find any.
Francis: All clear, guys!
Francis' character is immediately set upon all sides by poisonous gas, arrows, and finally crushed underneath a boulder.
Francis: You said there weren't any traps!
Brent: No, I said you don't find any.
- An inspector tried to create an angry mob to get Sam Starfall's ass handed to him, but a series of misunderstanding soon turned the angry mob into a frightened one, and the inspector correctly suspect that Sam is behind it.
- In another instance, the Mayor cripples Florence by ordering her to be silent, and since Florence is hardcoded to obey humans, she cannot speak at all. Sam manages to find a loophole by sending the Mayor a message that paraphrases to "If you don't say otherwise, we'll assume your order has been cancelled" and couching it in enough of his personal annoying diatribe that it makes the Mayor livid. She sends back a massively hate-filled response chewing him out, but forgets to include anything saying her order still stands.
- A restauranteur catches Sam And Max both trying to skip out on paying the lunch bill. They wash dishes in a race to see who has to pay. Loser pays both bills.
- A woman tells a robot to hide on a plane until it is brought into the hangar, so if anyone asks she can say he was hiding on the plane until it was brought into the hangar.
- The Order of the Stick
- Therkla disobeys the clear intent of her orders and lays the blame elsewhere, on the ground that she had tried to obey exactly the orders she was given, and the fall guy had tried to obey the intent. Her superior lets it slide because weaseling out of responsibility for your own actions is a political skill he had taught her personally, and he's proud of her progress — but to be clear, he also gives the explicit order that next time, she is to do exactly what everyone already knew he wanted her to do.
- Lampshaded by Tarquin, who promises to a diplomat that his forces will join a battle the next day but doesn't specify which side they will join. When they join the opposing side, he quips:Tarquin: ... And here I was worried all night that you were going to figure it out early. I mean, I thought I just made it, like, WAY too obvious, but I guess it all worked out, huh?
- In another instance, Redcloak chews out Xykon for endangering the life of their prisoner, O-Chul, making him fight gladiatorial combat with various monsters for Xykon's amusement, prompting Xykon to swear that he "won't put the paladin in any type of enclosure with any animal, magical beast or aberration, as part of an attempt to entertain ourselves." As soon as Redcloak leaves the room, Xykon tells his other minion, Tsukiko, to create some undead gladiators for O-Chul to fight.
- Surprisingly, the Monster in the Darkness also pulls one, but certainly not intentionally:Hobgoblin: Are you sure the Supreme Leader said this was OK?
MitD: Oh, yeah, he gave me a direct order.
MitD: Hey, Redcloak, I need—
Redcloak: Go bother someone else.
- When one character comes to an Evil wizard named Grubwiggler as a last resort to resurrect Roy Greenhilt, she gets the idea that maybe Grubwiggler intends to "revive" the corpse as some form of Undead. She uses a Sense Motive spell to ensure that he's telling the truth when he tells her that he will not create an Undead out of the corpse... he doesn't tell her that what he does intend to do is transform it into a bone golem, which under D&D rules is a Construct, not an Undead.
- Roy had once asked an oracle where Xykon currently was, and had received the answer "on his throne". When he later returns to the same oracle, he deliberately forms his question to be as immune to twisting as possible. Ironically, however, this makes him receive a worse answer, because his phrasing of the question had limited Xykon's next attack to one of two possible locations, and Xykon had chosen to Take a Third Option. The Oracle tried to get Roy to word his question in a way that would allow him to give the proper answer, but Roy was having none of it. The very next strip has Elan of all people pointing out Roy's error... but moments later the party triggers the Memory Charm around the Oracle's tower so that the only thing they remember from the visit with the Oracle was the answers he gave to their specific questions. Thus eliminating the advance warning they would've otherwise had of Xykon's imminent attack.The Oracle: Yes, you've certainly managed to cunningly outsmart yourself at the very least.
- Durkon, a very lawful character, averts being Lawful Stupid nicely when he convinces Miko that the team wasn't trying to escape, their cages were open because of a mechanical defect. When questioned later he says that he considers "able to be picked by a rogue" to be a pretty big defect. More crucially, he gets around the fact that the other party members left their cells by stating that the five of them, as in collectively, didn't leave the cells (he stayed in his).
- Subtle example in the IFCC's negotiations with Vaarsuvius. "We simply don't need to trick you if we can get what we want by playing it straight." sounds a lot like "We aren't tricking you." without saying anything of the sort.
- Vaarsuvius attributes being able to defeat the psion Laurin Shattersmith to "a combination of observations, calculations, and superior intelligence". They don't mention that mean in the rpg statistic sense but in the military sense of gathering intelligence, i.e. a full briefing on her abilities, courtesy of Sabine.
- In strip 743, Haley and Durkon argue about whether to tell Malack they know each other; Haley doesn't trust him, but Durkon does and doesn't want to lie. Haley argues they don't have to lie as long as Malack doesn't directly ask about it, but then he does. Durkon admits that they know each other, but Haley continues by saying she's a worshipper of Thor (whose cleric Durkon is) and Durkon was there when she converted. She explains this to Durkon as being true by saying she converted just there and then.
- After the Azure City Gate is destroyed, Lord Hinjo asks O-Chul if he did it. O-Chul responds that he made the decision, and his blade performed the act, but he leaves out the part in the middle because he doesn't want to speak ill of the dead: O-Chul was frozen in place by a Hold Person spell before he could actually do the deed; Miko, completely misunderstanding the situation, took his sword from his hands and smashed the sapphire herself, dying in the process.
- In an early arc, Roy spends some time in Heaven before being brought back to life. While in Heaven he discovers that his parents, whose relationship went through serious ups and downs, are both seeing other people. When he tries to bring this up, his father points out that their vows were upheld 'until death do them part'. After that point, they both took liberty to look elsewhere.
- In strip 1173 Durkon saves the Dwarves from Hel's plan to destroy the world and claim their souls by smashing the wooden table into two pieces. Dwarves, being the ultimate lawful race, included literally thousands of rules for every occasion and in this case, no vote among the council of clan elders can be held unless there is a wooden table that fits a very specific list of criteria. By breaking the table into pieces, the meeting is immediately suspended and no vote can be held until they can find a tree big enough to make a new table from. Durkon's mother put it best when she said to one of Hel's vampires:Sigdi: Were ye really so dumb ta think tha ye could beat Durkon...in a fight tha revolved around followin' tha rules?!?
- Early in the 3rd story arc, Vaarsuvius attempts this when Roy asks him if s/he's been casting Explosive Runes on Belkar. Roy is having none of it.Vaarsuvius: Technically, I cast Explosive Runes on a series of inanimate objects.
- A variant in 8-Bit Theater: To shut Black Mage up, omnipotent Jerkass Sarda invents a spell that makes Black Mage vomit his entire digestive tract. Black Mage later attempts to use the spell and winds up vomiting his entire digestive tract again, because, in Black Mage's own words, "When Sarda casts a spell to hurt you, and you learn that spell, you learn to cast a spell that hurts you." In other words, Sarda didn't create a spell that makes the target vomit up its digestive tract. He created a spell that makes Black Mage vomit up his digestive tract. Even if it's Black Mage casting the spell. Sarda later does something similar with a reality-altering spell. It's not so much a spell to alter reality as the caster sees fit, as to alter reality as Sarda sees fit.
- The author of Misfile once posted to the forums: "Emily is not a lesbian. Ash does not like boys." As Genre Savvy as the forum is, he may as well have posted "Em is bi" then and there, back when it wasn't so obvious from the strip.
- In a strip of Shotgun Shuffle, Quinn tells Ellie not to set foot in her room. Once Quinn leaves, Ellie goes into her room by walking on her hands.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
- On how to stay a virgin. A purity ring means you stay a virgin, which in this case means you allegedly stay a virgin even if you have sex.
- Also this strip. "This machine will show you the very last thing you'll see before you die" — because you'll be killed when looking at it.
- Comic for 2011-04-13: As Jesus said, "The meek will inherit the Earth." Thus, he shows up to take the non-meek to heaven.
- "The Death Spot": A ninja teacher finally reveals the spot that, when hit, will result in instant death. The information isn't as exciting or useful as it sounds, since the spot is inside the heart.
- The origin of the expression "quantum leap" is revealed to be that someone wanted a term that really means something really small but sounds like it means something large and significant.
- In "Semantics", a man makes a Deal with the Devil to obtain a bag that will provide money whenever he needs to buy something. Only, that really means need, not just want to.
- The median American is now a millionaire — because the government tracked down the specific individual who was the most median and gave her a million dollars so they could say that.
- Home on the Strange: Seth denies having a superhero outfit. He does not in fact have a superhero outfit. He has seven.
- In Head Trip, Mal gives a Twilight fangirl a Christmas present. A present with dark, brooding eyes, pale skin, and is cold as ice to the touch. A gift that sparkles in the sunlight. The Fangirl is NOT amused.
- Evil Diva: Diva's mom tweaks this to insinuate that Loki might know something.
- Roza "I didn't follow you, I followed the goat." (Which follows her.)
- In Something*Positive, when Davan's boss makes a request, Davan makes it happen.
"So, ignore the syllabus. Today we're going over the philosophy of following instructions in the most petty way possible."
- The 2016 Christmas season has an arc where Davan's neighbor, Mr. Gibson, asks Davan to put up some Christmas decorations but specifically asks that they not include The Krampus. Davan starts making decorations based on different gory Christmas legends instead. Mr. Gibson expected this; it's just that three other families in the neighborhood were doing Krampus already.
- When Vanessa's boss asks her to dress nicer for work:
- Doc Scratch from Homestuck. He prides himself on never lying (except in the short term, in service of a joke), but he's still deceptive. He deceives by strongly implying things, abusing hypothetical terms, and presenting just enough information to lead his marks to the wrong conclusion—while none of his direct statements are ever incorrect. In other words, Scratch lies through omission frequently—and when questioned about this, he smugly claims that said concept is a "human" one since mortals can never be in possession of all information and that everyone who talks to him "asks the wrong questions". Such is his talent with this that he successfully tricks Rose into not destroying the Green Sun, but creating it in the first place, and she doesn't even realise it until it's created.
- Then there's the exchange between Jake and Dirk in which Jake states that "it's not like [Dirk's] from a century in the future", to which Dirk replies "Well. No." Dirk is definitely not from one century in the future; he's from four centuries in the future.
- A Demoness in Goblins uses this when offering a Deal with the Devil; she claims to be the guardian of the Orb of Bloodlight, and offers a trade of "one soul for one orb". Dies-Horribly offers up himself for the bargain, and is given a non-magical orb made of ordinary blue stone instead. The demon gloats that Dies should have specified which orb he wanted when the deal was made. It comes back to haunt her immediately afterwards; Dies' magical arm apparently possesses a soul of its own, because the demoness is horrified to learn that she claimed two souls instead of one, and accuses the goblins of trickery. The "powers that be" deem her guilty of breaking a demonic contract, and banish her to the plane of torture.
- When he realises that Gail from Thunderstruck can detect lies, the leader of a morally dubious group reassures her she has nothing to worry about because his men will have orders not to harm her sister. He had already issued orders to 'test' Sharon and neutralize her if she were a threat, and gets a real Oh, Crap! moment when he realizes it's too late to rescind them.
- In Erstwhile, the farmer's clever daughter is told she may take any one thing she likes when she is sent away from the king's castle. She takes the king.
- In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, Abel, confronted with an adventuring team looking for a Cubi from Lost Lake claimed by a seer to have killed a former teammate, claims to be the only Cubi at Lost Lake to protect a long-standing resident on a month-long sojourn who may have been indirectly and unwittingly responsible for the teammate's death.
- In Drowtales, the author's response to a fan who asked if the character Kalki was the daughter of another character was that she was her daughter, but her mother had never given birth. Later on we learn that Snadhya'rune, her mother, never has given birth — Kalki was carried outside her womb thanks to the technology of the Jaal'darya clan, but it still Snadhya'rune's biological daughter.
- In A Miracle of Science, Mars signed a treaty preventing them from deploying military force beyond the orbit of Deimos. The treaty says nothing about self-defense weaponry capable of destroying a capital ship, nor does it forbid moving Deimos to orbit Venus
- In Ava's Demon, Wraitha restores Ava to her old life and says that since Ava didn't ask for different, she has fulfilled her part. Beware the Nice Ones, Wraitha.
- In Elf Only Inn, King Herman is a paladin, who is immune to PvP damage, trying to reason with the Dorum brothers. Dor Dorum starts shooting him with a flamethrower to the face. Herman asks Dor to "lower his weapon." Dor responds by shooting the flamethrower at Herman's crotch.
- Played for Drama in El Goonish Shive: Abraham was a wizard's apprentice who enchanted a diamond to remove curses (originally meant for a werewolf) — but it turned out to physically separate the curses instead, curing the cursed individual while also manifesting a living copy of their cursed form. Unable to destroy the diamond, Abraham swore an oath to God that he would kill the cursed forms every time it was used. And that went well, until the curse was a Gender Bender and the cursed form was an innocent teenage girl instead of a dangerous monster. Abraham was horrified to realize this, but felt compelled to kill her anyway because of his oath. At the last minute, Nanase manages to convince him to stop because, although following the letter of his oath, he would in fact be violating the spirit of his oath — to protect people.
- Autumn offers to wash the dishes. She did not say anything about washing pots, pans, silverware...
- Later, Bette orders the kids to run one mile(approximately), but forgets to specify they do it in the designated track. As the other kids dash away, Max notes that they are following directions... approximately.
- Girl Genius:
- The official reports on the Other's attack on Castle Heterodyne stated that the seneschal and Carson von Mekkahn's son were killed, as Carson was known to have served as seneschal for decades most assumed that the entire von Mekkahn line was dead. What most didn't know was that Carson had retired just a few days earlier and was safe at home playing with his newborn grandson when his son, the new seneschal was killed. They didn't particularly feel like correcting the error.
- The oath that the Jagers took when signing up with the Baron was that "No Jager is to enter Mechanicsburg until a Heterodyne is once again in residence" a.k.a. once the Doom Bell has been rung to officially announce the succession of a new Heterodyne. However, it said nothing at all about being underneath Mechanicsburg, which is why there's a bar and hospital housing at least a hundred or so injured Jagers who are waiting for a Heterodyne to repair them, at sub-sub-sub basement level.
- In Angels 2200, when Lance is disguised as Loser while wearing her vac suit, he tells Whiskey that his programming forbids him from deceiving members of the crew, but that since they're asking for Loser, he won't have to respond and blow his cover. Unfortunately, the people calling for her then ask for the occupant of his vac suit, which he realizes he will have to answer.
- Later on, when a Terran intelligence agent is on the ship, the captain gives Bubblegum a gag order regarding what they'd learned from their prisoner who'd recently committed suicide. Bubblegum says she'll "do her duty" to the Terran Navy, at which point the captain chews her out and tells her that she wanted her obedience to the letter of her order, not clever wordplay.
- As part of one Brawl in the Family mini-series, Ganondorf and Bowser swap enemies to take them down easier. When Link sees that he has to fight Bowser, Navi confidently announces that they can't lose because Link has a fireproof tunic. However, it turns out that it doesn't make Link fireproof as well.
- Erfworld does it all the time, often in a way that counts as Loophole Abuse:
- When Lord Stanley is directing Wanda's channeling of the Summon Perfect Warlord Spell, he makes specific and bizarre requirements. The person summoned by the spell — Parson Gotti, an obsessive gamer geek from our world — exactly fits the wording of the requirements, just not in the way Stanley intended.
- Later, Stanley orders Parson to shut up until ordered to speak. As Parson's Overlord, his orders are magically binding. Parson quickly gets around the order by exploiting a loophole: nobody said it had to be Stanley himself who would order him to speak.
- While Stanley is debating an issue, Maggie asks if she can give him a suggestion. Stanley says "sure" and immediately takes a Suggestion spell in the face.
- In the prequel Book 0, Charlie made a Deal of a Lifetime with Faq units, including Jillian, Wanda and Jack, one of the conditions for which was magically compelling them to never reveal what they learned about his past. The deal was explicitly said to last for the unit's lifetime, and Jack is freed from it after his death and decryption.
- Darths & Droids has this case: the players wonder what kind of Single-Biome Planet Bespin will be. The GM promises "there won't be one type of land on the planet." There isn't a single type of land. Only gas.
- Ménage à 3:
- Matt's vow to himself that he won't so much as look at another woman until he wins Kiley back would be a bit more authentically noble if he wasn't bisexual. (Strip #1079, October 06, 2015, NSFW.)
- In strip #1298, Jung dodges around Gary's questions to avoid revealing that Zii is hiding out in the comic shop. While he is deliberately misleading him, he doesn't tell a single lie.
- In Welcome to Chastity the main character, Mei, moves into a town where all the women have insanely huge breasts and is told by her extremely busty roommate that that's the case for all the women living in the town. The next morning Mei finds out that her roommate was being literal, as her breasts have gone from flat chested to D-cups overnight.
- Zebra Girl: In order to release Sandra from the grasp of a big guy, Viv convinces him that she will punish her herself, telling him that she will "make her hurt in ways even you can't manage". True enough, she proceeds to make Sandra face her humanity and makes her realize what she has done when she succumbed to her demonic urges.Viv: Growth is painful, you know?
- Terror Island:
York: Stephen, your word is "Camelopard".
- Liln has to call Sid a "privateer wordsmith" because she lost a bet; they were arguing over whether Pluto was the farthest planet, but both failed to specify what it was farthest from and so Sid clarified that he meant "farthest from Pluto".
- In Strip #66, Sid tells Jame "don't panic, but there's a small chance that, through no fault of my own, I may have summoned a demon into you". Jame is definitely possessed, but there's a small chance it wasn't Sid's fault.
- From Strip #27:
Stephen: Can you use it in a sentence?
York: Almost certainly.
Stephen: Sorry, will you use it in a sentence?
York: Probably not. It isn't a very common word.
Jame: I give up. How?
- In Strip #162, the Green Grocer responds to the others not wanting to hear his story with "alright, but if you don't want to hear my story, you won't get to hear about werewolf valkyries". He was telling the truth, he just omitted the fact that they wouldn't get to hear about werewolf valkyries either way.
- In Strip #243, Sid asks Jame "If I don't know anything about skating boards, then how do you explain my undefeated record?"
Sid: Oh, easy. I've never entered any competitions before.
- In Two Guys and Guy, Frank creates a device that he claims will kill anyone on Earth at the push of a button, which it will do by blowing up the Earth itself, killing your target along with yourself and everyone else. He mentions that he's having trouble marketing it, for some reason.
- Tales of the Questor makes this trope an important point during the Wild Hunt arc. The fae are bound by boons, which makes it important to word them correctly so that Loopholes can't be exploited. In particular, an unseleigh fae princeling promises the hero a boon if he survives the Wild Hunt "til the rooster crows the dawn". Thus, he rigs the bet by killing every rooster in the area, thus meaning that there's no rooster to crow the dawn. Luckily, one of the hero's allies happened to be nicknamed "the Rooster" for her convincing rooster calls.
- Schlock Mercenary: one storyline has Tagon's Toughs acting as security for an 'archeological dig'; a side discussion has Tagon order Kevyn to stay "up there, away from all of those crowds of 'somebody else'." Kevin realizes Tagon DIDN'T say not to investigate from the ship... Tagon later uses Kevin's study to pull a Batman Gambit in renegotiating the contract."Come on. I gave you an order with loopholes in it."
- In this strip, Tagon isolates the specific phrasing of some contracts he's been offered in order to get paid twice. The next strip confirms that his employers expected this and carefully arranged their contracts to permit exactly this.
- And in this strip, Tagon - with some help from the company lawyer, Massey Reinstein - successfully argues that their escapades in the Credomar space station - in which they blew up part of it, narrowly prevented the destruction of the rest of it, and accidentally led a robot they built to install himself as a benevolent dictator - meant that they technically "delivered and ensured the equitable distribution of UNS-supplied emergency provisions", as stated in the contract, which incidentally did not require them to supply the provisions to a pro-UNS faction like their employers wanted. Their employer concedes the point very, very reluctantly.
- This Cyanide & Happiness strip sees a man discovering a magic lamp and freeing a genie, who offers three wishes. The man immediately asks for more wishes, and is told that a genie can only grant three...prompting the man to wish for more genies instead. Sure enough, the last panel shows several genies materializing and the original djinn cursing his bad luck.
- The dimwitted Charles often uses this to insult his long-suffering girlfriend. In one instance, he assures her that her legs aren't fat, then points out that "your huge ass might be throwing off my frame of reference." In another, he suggests "going away" for the weekend...meaning she should go alone, so he can have a party. In yet another, the girlfriend announces that she's going out with some girlfriends that night—Charles happily announces that he's doing the same as he dons a pimp-style hat.
- In one Wondermark strip, alien Jerkass Gax offers a man the assistance of a Gaxian luck spell before a big date. When the man returns, covered in soot, Gax points out that he never specified what kind of luck.
- Tower of God episode 307 has one that's certainly a bit of a stretch: "I never said I would spare him if you told me. I said that I would kill him if you didn't tell me..."
- Ennui GO!: When Izzy tells Sergio to "take care of" the dudes hanging around her building in the beginning of the second book, she just wants him to Make them go away. Unfortunately, quoth Noah:"Sergio is an old-school Cuban revolutionary! You tell a dude like that to "take care" of a motherfucker, that motherfucker ends up DEAD!"
- It all works out though.
- Housepets!: This is apparently how that curse that turns Thomas Milton into a camel works. The owner of the cursed treasure stipulated it must never be claimed by human hands, and the curse-laying demigod Petey is fully on board with troll solutions.
Exact Words / Webcomics