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Thinking Out Loud occurs in the odd circumstance that a character is talking to himself/herself out loud and they could easily be thinking the same thing, but just don't. Villains do this a LOT. It's usually a form of As You Know...: often the character would be better off hiding their thoughts from people who might hear them, but, of course, the audience needs to be informed...
The difference with Did I Just Say That Out Loud? is that that trope incorporates an Outer Monologue when other characters are in the room and happen to hear what the character was thinking because he/she blurted it out. This is where they are speaking out loud intentionally, and/or if bystanding characters learn nothing from the experience.
Surrogate Soliloquy and Inner Monologue are tropes which are deliberate aversions. Inner Monologue Conversation is an aversion in which others respond anyway. Audience Monologue is similar, but is intentionally directed to the audience. Breaking the Fourth Wall and addressing the audience is another aversion, but much older. If the character is looking in the direction of the audience but not saying anything that strictly proves they're aware of the audience rather than just Thinking Out Loud, that's Aside Comment. Placebo Eureka Moment is when there is someone else there, but the character isn't really talking to them. Freudian Slip is when someone ends up speaking what's in their mind rather than what they want to say. An extremely common case of Truth in Television; people often forget to close their mouths while thinking.
Interestingly, thinking out loud has been studied; it's formally known as private speech or egocentric speech. Although it's often stereotyped as a bad habit, one of the earliest defenders of the practice was Lev Vygotsky, who studied private speech in children and reasoned that speaking out loud while performing tasks tended to help the child perform better.
Don't confuse this trope with Talking to Themself, in which case the character has some kind of split personality or think he is really talking to someone else.
Or for that matter, this is also not the song of the same name by Ed Sheeran.
- Mira in Asteroid in Love has a habit of voicing the lines when she draws manga in her room. Her housemate once compares it to miming.
- Bleach's Squad 4 third seat (Yasochika Iemura) does this, even in the DS video games (where they account for most of his lines). Everyone tells him they can hear him, but he continues.
- Gatomon in Digimon Adventure does this while pondering her past. Wizardmon overhears her and asks a question. Not realizing she was talking out loud, Gatomon gets angry believing Wizardmon was reading her mind.
- From Digimon Savers we have Bio-Hybrid Ivan. He constantly blurts out embarrassing thoughts out loud, not realizing his mistake even when Namani and Yoshi inform him they can hear every word he's saying.
Ivan: " . . . but I'd never say that out loud."
- Elgala from Excel Saga is an odd example of this. These moments are presented in word balloons normally reserves for Inner Monologues, suggesting that she really is just thinking to herself instead of out loud. And yet everyone can inexplicably hear what she's thinking anyway.
- Izuru Midoriya, the protagonist of My Hero Academia, tends to start mumbling whenever he's thinking hard about something. This used to creep his friends out, but they've gotten used to it to the point that they remark about how they almost missed it after he does it for the first time in a while.
- Chopper of One Piece combines this with I'm Standing Right Here when he both thinks out loud and badmouths his hosts because he'd thought them crude primitives at first glance.
- Pretty much the trademark of Shinji Ibu. Hilariously invoked in one of his Image songs and the Talk time track of said CD, which is basically Shinji mumbling nonstop.
- In RIN-NE, chapter 28, Egawa gives one, and it's lampshaded.
"What an easy-to-understand soliloquy."
- Touka of Suki × Suki has a hard time expressing herself, especially when she's around Ryoutarou. This changes drastically when she gains the ability to become invisible. While invisible, she speaks all of her thoughts out loud, doing things like gushing over Ryoutarou because she knows nobody can hear her. Unknown to Touka, Ryoutarou can see and hear everything she does.
- In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Wolffy often talks to himself out loud when he thinks of a plan to catch the goats, even when nobody's around to hear him. This is to give the audience insight on what he plans to do for that episode.
- Deadpool, as Medium Aware as he is, sometimes thinks out loud completely unintentionally. This "outer monologue" often still uses the narrative boxes. Example from Cable & Deadpool issue 30:
Mr Immortal: We are not feebs!
Deadpool: Hey, that's twice now. What's going on here?
Big Bertha: You're saying everything out loud!
Deadpool: I am?
Big Bertha: Yes!
Deadpool: Oh. Weird. Coulda sworn I was in first person narrative form.
- Mickey Mouse Comic Universe: A downright ridiculous example is the Disney comic "The Mystery of the Old Mansion", where the villain is busy with his work, unaware of anything else being present, and suddenly, for no reason, he spontaneously decides to recite four pages' worth of backstory, complete with dramatic acting.
- Lampshaded in "Snow It Goes", where the villain, in the middle of his soliloquy, mentions that he's going to use the money gained from his scheme for psychiatric therapy to cure his urge to talk to himself.
- It happens in Supergirl story arc Bizarrogirl. During their trip to Bizarro World, Kara Zor-El reflects out loud on the events which led to her retirement, her decision to go back to being Supergirl and taking her twin back to Bizarro World.
- Extremely common in Super Hero comics in general, at least as recently as the Bronze Age. Characters' thoughts would be written in regular round voice bubbles half the time, rather than bumpy thought bubbles, indicating that they were speaking out loud. It would frankly be easier to list superheroes of the era who did not do this.
- Of particular note though is the cover of Amazing Fantasy #15, where Spider-Man announces quite clearly that he is Peter Parker while holding a ne'er-do-well in one hand, thus telling him his Secret Identity.
- Doctor Doom does this a lot. In Secret Wars (1984), Klaw calls him out on it, asking if Doom is taping himself. Doom then reveals that he is, because "Every utterance of Doom must be recorded for posterity!"
- Lampshaded in a Justice League of America comic in which The Key takes over the Justice League.
I've finally done it. The Justice League are mine. Their thoughts belong to The Key. And with their help, I shall open new doors onto a new universe! Oh, and make a note of an interesting side effect of my expanding consciousness. I can't stop talking to myself
- A Crown of Stars: In chapter 30 Asuka is arguing with herself about her fears, doubts, trauma... At the beginning she is dwelling on it silently, but at a point she starts to speak her thoughts out loud.
- Advice and Trust:
- In chapter 2, Asuka is pondering her and Shinji's new relationship. At one point she thinks out loud that having someone wanting to be with her is frightening.
'Alright, Soryu, quit dodging the issue. Yeah, losing purity points was fun and you can't wait to do it again, but that's not why you're hiding in the bathroom, afraid to look him in the eye right now, is it? He... said things last night. Made promises. He just did it again. That stupid, clumsy, dense baka... likes you. And you like him. He understands what it feels like. He's just like you. You're not alone. And he wants to stay with you.' "Which is Gott damn terrifying..." she whispered out loud.
- In chapter 6 Shinji and Asuka are detained and kept in cells for two days for "insubordination". While she is locked and insolated Asuka yells very loudly what she thinks about Gendo Ikari, his orders, and getting arrested in spite of rescuing an endangered pilot, killing the enemy without destroying the hijacked Unit and winning the battle.
- In chapter 2, Asuka is pondering her and Shinji's new relationship. At one point she thinks out loud that having someone wanting to be with her is frightening.
- The Bolt Chronicles: In these stories, Bolt talks to himself when alone rather than thinking.
- Mao from Code Geass: Mao of the Deliverance is a particularly triumphant example as he, suffering from uncontrollable telepathy, talks to himself constantly in order to differentiate his thoughts from everyone else. Played for Laughs when other characters question his sanity or he accidentally reveals information he didn't intend to.
- Evangelion 303: In chapter 12 Asuka gets a long, bitter argument with herself during which she claimed to hate herself and her other self accused her of lying to herself. Shortly later Asuka is pondering her life, recalls that argument, and screams out loud "You think you are so smart? Do you want to see how much I hate myself?"
- HERZ: Misato does it in chapter 3, when she muses they are using to save themselves a weapon was created to destroy them, and they are still pawns in a game.
- Flash Fog: In September 2 8 16 AM, Pencil Pusher muses out loud, about talking to Fluttershy when they don't have a reason to talk, and this trope is lampshaded:
But how do I bring up any sort of topic without it coming off as awkward? Pencil Pusher said aloud.
Well, for starters, you can try not talking to yourself in public, a nearby stallion replied sarcastically.
- In Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, after Austin himself is thawed out, he monologues out loud his desire to sleep with this movie's Bond Girl, then realizes that everyone in the room heard him. That is an example of Did I Just Say That Out Loud?, but when he says a side effect of the cryonic freezing process has left him with no inner monologue, that is Thinking Loudly.
- In Waterworld, the main characters meet a tramp sailor who's been alone on his ship so long, he talks out loud to himself without realizing he's doing it. He even mutters his own thoughts of betraying them in front of the new arrivals.
- Lampshaded in the Children of the Corn (2009) remake, in which the harried hero's verbal monologue is echoed by his inner monologue, culminating with him both saying and thinking to himself that he needs to stop talking to himself.
- Blazing Saddles subverts the trope when Hedley Lamar, alone in his office, talks through his evil plan to hire a repellent sheriff to drive away the Rock Ridge residents. Toward the end of the speech, he turns to the camera wondering, "Where would I find such a man?" After a pause, he says, "Why am I asking you?"
- Ian Malcolm does this in Jurassic Park when Grant and Sattler jump out of their park vehicle during his lecture on chaos theory.
"And now I'm in here by myself, ah, talking to myself."
- Black and Nerdy Terry in Jumpin' Jack Flash talks to herself all the time, given that she's rather socially isolated. This is used for Repeating So the Audience Can Hear during her initial contact with Jack when his messages are just text on her screen.
- The Dark Crystal: From the moment Jen leaves the valley of the Mystics to his encounter with Aughra, he speaks in his thoughts.
- Robinson Crusoe invokes this by fear of forever losing the ability to speak if he stayed alone with no one to talk for too long.
- In The Old Man and the Sea, the titular old fisherman Santiago does this a lot.
"If the others heard me talking out loud they would think that I am crazy", - he said aloud. "But since I am not crazy, I do not care".
- In Alice in Wonderland, Alice does that all the time due to her being a Cloudcuckoolander.
- In the Vorkosigan Saga, Miles Vorkosigan does this a lot, in keeping with his hyperactive and not-entirely-stable personality. He mentions on one occasion that he likes to think out loud because it slows down his thoughts to the point where he can get a good look at them, and also admits that very few people can stand to listen to him for long. On another occasion he actually uses this — ranting about how everyone always thinks Ivan is the smart one, and the bad guys have exposed their entire scheme for the sake of grabbing the expendable Barrayaran, and it's been like this since they were kids, y'know... — to provide a distraction for an ally, who takes so long to spring her ambush that even Miles starts to worry he's going to run out of things to say.
- The Light Fantastic: Galder Weatherwax mutters calculations under his breath before firing the magic arrow intended to get the Eighth Spell.
- In Malazan Book of the Fallen Iskaral Pust's dialogue is half conversation and half inner monologue, all thrown at the people talking to him. It may be part of a tactic of making people underestimate him.
- Arrow: In season 1, when Oliver first returned to the island, he often talked aloud to himself when alone. This could be interpreted in two different ways. 1) Oliver spent a great time allowed and probably got used to his own company, perhaps talking aloud to keep himself sane. 2) It cued the audience into what Oliver was thinking as we had no other way to know what he was planning unless he told us. Once Diggle came along, this thinking aloud quickly faded away, with Oliver now discussing his plans with Diggle.
- Babylon 5:
- Commander Ivanova was occasionally prone to making deadpan observations about the situation, sometimes even looking upwards to direct them to God (similar to Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof) when she was particularly exasperated.
- Meanwhile, "Rumors, Bargains, and Lies" featured a very energetic Captain Sheridan mumbling to himself and making random outbursts at breakfast as he concocts his plan to get the League of Nonaligned Worlds cooperate with his attempts to deploy his forces to keep the peace between them. This gets lampshaded by his junior officers who decide this is a side effect of Delenn (Sheridan's Love Interest and sounding board) being elsewhere for a few episodes.
- The characters on Criminal Minds often do this if someone else isn't present, usually starting with "I'm the UNSUB." Lampshaded in one episode when Prentiss was muttering about what she was doing (reenacting the victim's last moments) when another character came up behind her.
- Doctor Who:
- The First Doctor's speech after all his companions leave him for the first time and he realises he has no way of quitting his life of random, aimless travel.
- The Fourth Doctor is a chronic and indulgent self-talker, pointed out by Sarah Jane in his second story (she theorises to a side character that he talks to himself because he's the only person who understands what he's on about).
- One of his earliest Establishing Character Moments) is his rapturous Humans Are Special speech in "The Ark in Space". Harry is present and likely able to hear him, but he moves to another room before the Doctor starts in order to give Tom Baker the set to himself and emphasise the speech's Shakespearean nature.
- This is quite helpful in circumstances where he's cut off from the companion, especially in "The Deadly Assassin" which has no companion at all, and relishes scenes such as him casually mumbling half-formed jokes and yelling solipsistically at the political broadcast on television. As his tenure continued this became closer and closer to making him a Fourth-Wall Observer his commentary started to get more meta, and he'd combine self-talking with the Aside Glance.
- In one of his Big Finish Doctor Who stories, there's an extended scene of him having a solitary mental breakdown while ranting at his hat stand before smashing it to pieces.
- Because of the Big Finish Doctor Who audios, talking to himself is actually considered a character trait of the Eighth Doctor.
- "Flesh and Stone": Doing this leads the Doctor to announce to Amy why the Weeping Angels are making her count down to her and River, something he immediately regrets, leading him to clap a hand over his mouth.
- In "Mummy on the Orient Express", the Twelfth Doctor is shown talking to himself in his room, acting out the other half of the conversation with an impression of the Fourth Doctor's voice.
- On Selfie, Henry is alone for the weekend, after several other characters have impugned his boring, work-based life-style. So he goes through his fridge and starts talking to his various yogurt in a kind of English, Medieval accent.
Henry: You sir Boysenberry shall reign until the first of the month. Whereas your days, Lord Key Lime of Custard, are numbered. You there! You sneaky Greek bastard. [normal voice] Expired? [English voice] You will hang for your crime! [throws yogurt out] I gotta get out of the house.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Conspiracy", Data starts doing this, and then overexplains the concept to the computer before it tells him to shut up.
Data: Startling. Quite extraordinary, in fact.
Computer: Directions unclear. Please repeat request.
Data: That was not a request. I was simply...talking to myself. A human idiosyncrasy, triggered by fascination with a particular set of facts. Or sometimes brought about by senility. Or used as a means of weighing information before reaching a conclusion. Or, as a—
Computer: Thank you, sir. I comprehend.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In "By Inferno's Light," Garak is working in a tight, enclosed space inside the wall to rewire a computer system so the group can escape a Dominion internment camp. After turning off the only light source he has, which is beginning to die on him, he begins talking to himself which is really thinking out loud. The talking to himself is also justified in that he's in the process of spiralling down into a full blown claustrophobic attack and he's desperately trying to avert the attack he can feel approaching by pep-talking himself. This is convenient because it's also the only way the audience learns he has a history of claustrophobia and how it started which, for such a private character who loathes revealing weakness, would never have been something the audience would have otherwise learned.
- In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), Dean continues to declare his love of pie after Sam leaves him alone in the car.
- An episode of Wonder Woman. "The Girl From Ilandia, featured a villain of the week who believed he was so far above the rest of humanity that the only person he deemed worthy to be spoken to by him was himself.
- Sami Callihan has a tendency to announce his attentions or otherwise say plans or let out random musings he's better off keeping to himself.
- SHINE wrestler Kimberly is prone to such, sometimes seemingly unaware that people can hear her.
- Radio Dramas are prone to this, because, you know, how would you tell the difference between narration and someone talking to himself?
- In Forsooth!! everyone's primary character gets one soliloquy per session. These are very useful for winning applause from other players.
- A theatre trope, along with Inner Monologue.
- Of course, William Shakespeare's plays contain many notable examples. The tradition continues until the late 19th century with the advent of Realism.
- Parodied sometimes by Gilbert and Sullivan; for example in The Mikado:
Lord High Executioner of Titipu: Can't you see I'm soliloquizing? You have interrupted an apostrophe, sir!"
- Near the end of Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton has a huge example of one of these just as he is about to be shot by Aaron Burr, in which time completely freezes and Hamilton considers out loud what's about to happen and what his entire life has come to before aiming his pistol to the sky and being shot.
- Asura's Wrath: Some of Yasha's dialogue from chapter 15 is talking to himself, there is someone else present who clearly isn't listening. He continues it a bit in the next chapter, except this time that person is listening.
Yasha: Deus, so this is your decision... But this is—Asura: Stop talking to yourself!
- In point and click adventure games where there's no narrator the player characters do this to explain things to the player. Often lampshaded and mocked in less serious ones.
- Dr. Robotnik of Sonic the Hedgehog has a tendency to do this.
- Happens often in Persona 3, and quite mysteriously while characters are alone...in their rooms. Perhaps a sign of Sanity Slippage?
- Dr. Mordin Solus of Mass Effect 2. Verbal traits make highly memorable character. Audio-visual documentation available. He addresses this directly in Mass Effect 3, stating (as mentioned below in Real Life) that he's an auditory learner, and that speaking to himself helps him organize his thought processes.
- This is something Lara Croft does in Tomb Raider (2013), which given her situation is perfectly realistic and understandable.
- The Team Galactic Grunt in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and Pokémon Platinum who set off the bomb in the Great Marsh does this while you follow him.
- Played for Laughs in Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando. In a log entry, the Thugs-4-Less leader states that the resident Mega-Corp has ten million crates, each containing one hundred Protopets per crate. He then proceeds to mutter under his breath, and at one point he can clearly be heard saying "carry the two".Unsurprisingly, he ends up with "3.5 zillion Protopets".
- During Dragon Age II a stressed-out Hawke without any companions around can go on a ramble about all kinds of things they're worried about, big and small. One of those worries is "daft freaks wandering the streets talking to them...selves..."
- Fumio Taya does this all the time in Blue Reflection. Sometimes she's not always saying flattering things. It drives poor Hinako crazy.
- The Dead Mines: The player character continues to suggest ideas, weigh options, or voice opinions on what he sees even after discovering his radio no longer works.
- Charby the Vampirate: When she's on her own rather than with the rest of the Rose Sisters Rosebud says what she's thinking out loud to herself or by addressing inanimate objects and the dead, especially when she's frustrated.
- Grim Trigger: Lodin's first conversation with Tage and Hunter is about him talking to himself. He seems pretty embarrassed by it.
- Carson very much seems to be talking to himself on the bench just outside the city gates in Girl Genius but he's actually addressing a fragment of the Castle. He does pass as talking to himself to anyone who happens to walk by while he's doing it though.
- Max from Max Overacts has received talks from both his Mum and his Teacher about soliloquies.
- In Outsider, there is a scene where Alex, a human, is talking to a Loroi, who have never made contact with humans before. The Loroi in question, Beryl, is wondering what the words "Um," means in the human language, to which Alex replies that he tends to "Think Out Loud." Beryl bursts into laughter, thinking he told a joke, before realizing he was being serious. The Loroi are unused to verbal communication, preferring telepathy, so...
- Jon in Garfield Minus Garfield does this all the time for the simple reason that the comic has been made by removing all other main characters. Of course, the other interpretation is that he's talking to imaginary characters.
- In El Goonish Shive, Chika has a tendency to answer readers' questions without realizing it; usually by thinking about the answer to the questions out loud.
- Ruby of Sticky Dilly Buns makes the mistake of thinking aloud at the wrong moment here.
- Happens now and then in Sluggy Freelance. In "Anima: Revolution", Gwynn gets unintended results when doing it in a futuristic shower room.
"Cool!" voice command accepted. Adjusting temperature.
- The Call of Warr: Glintz-Terry vocally told himself to compliment Ashes on her dress- while she was standing right next to him, allowing her to hear exactly what he was thinking.
- Professor Farnsworth, in the Futurama episode The Sting, does this intentionally to get a point across:
"No no, I'm not saying that. But I'm certainly thinking it loudly."
- Dib from Invader Zim did this so often that his outer monologues eventually were punctuated exclusively by people confused about this, including he himself wondering why he does it.
- A version of this occurs in Phineas and Ferb with Candace constantly talking to herself, pointing to that she also assumes everyone she knows has heard what she said. Played for laughs when she tells Phineas she's gonna call mom "...And this time I'm not using the banana!"
- Jimmy Two-Shoes from the episode Jimmy and Beezy on the Run: "Maybe you're right. Maybe Miseryville has finally gotten to the Jimmy! Maybe, just maybe... I've gone bad!" Beezy responds by saying: "Enough with the thinking out loud!"
- The Great Mouse Detective: Basil did this often, most notably (and awesomely) when tied up in Ratigan's Death Trap.
- In the Mixels episode Murp Romp, Magnifo inadvertently does this. He turns away to give himself a pep talk about how his next show won't be like the last one (which culminated in himself disintegrating into ashes). While giving his pep talk, he has no idea that he's screaming about how awesome he is...and once he realizes this, he, very embarrassed, makes a hasty retreat.
- Mrs. Mavilda provides a lot of exposition this way in The Christmas Tree, as we see her lying in bed talking to herself about how to deal with Judy and other issues.
- In one episode of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Yoo Yee (an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who wants to fight Sheen to become the Chosen One) is constantly talking to himself (even saying "I must talk to myself"), since he's basically straight out of a 70s kung-fu flick. Sheen even lampshades it at one point.
- Some people really do catch themselves doing this sometimes, or so I tell myself.
- The tendency can be aggravated in periods of extreme stress or tiredness.
- It can also be 'aggravated' if one who does this a lot of the time is in an energetic mood.
- Repeatedly and unconsciously speaking your thoughts out loud is one of the lesser-known quirks of people on the autism spectrum.
- Persons living with ADD or ADHD, some learning disabilities or traumatic brain injuries that impair attention or concentration, and recovering stimulant addicts are actually often encouraged to use this as a coping mechanism for deficits in attention and concentration. It works to some degree to combat lack of focus and forgetfulness.
- Some people who acquired an hearing impairment, that use to sub-vocalize their thoughts, tend to do so. Can become quite tiresome for the people around them, as they find themselves forced to filter out the incessant flow of thoughts to find the phrases that are actually addressed to them.
- Depending on how one processes information, hearing the information can help with reasoning through it or holding details in memory until dealt with.
- Common among artists, musicians, and writers while working, as a means of information processing or keeping track of what they are doing, especially if they are still developing familiarity with a computer program, for example, or they are working in a second language. To anyone unfamiliar, this may be taken as a sign of being The Mentally Disturbed, but one way to tell the difference is that this kind of self-talk is generally related to a process (anything from the words of a written blog post to "move this track two down, volume up here, tempo change on the drums" or similar) or almost incoherent with broken words related to the process possibly in both languages because it's mumbled - it isn't usually conversational dialogue as if the person is talking to someone.
- When studying, it is recommended that you not only read or listen to the information, but also write it down and talk about it out loud, as this engages multiple parts of your brain and may help you process and keep the information better. This is one reason why group discussion is a fairly common part of classroom activities. Related is the process of verbally repeating the instructions you have just been given to verify that you understood what you have been told to do (common in radio communication, aircraft crews, and similar situations).