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Two Words: Added Emphasis
aka: Two Words Obvious Trope

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Danae: Well? What are you waiting for?
Lucy: A good reason to do this...
Danae: Two words, Lucy...Risk Management.
Lucy: Oh, I think I'm gonna need a lot more words than that.

Two words: Spurious emphasis. Something so fundamental that it can be expressed in a snappy utterance, or just its mere existence. In fiction, if the reference is something the characters know about but never reveal to the audience, it can be an instance of "Two words: Noodle Incident".

For comedic effect, The Ditz or The Fool will sometimes miscount the words, or anyone may break a single word into two parts for additional emphasis. That would be the subtrope, Two Words: I Can't Count. See Spelling for Emphasis for another form of emphasis.

Three words: List. Of. Examples.

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  • Denis Leary appeared in a number of MTV ads in the early 90s where he regularly invoked this trope, including this public service ad promoting tolerance and condemning racism:
    "One word folks, racism. One more word, Earth. If anyone gets any mail from outer space, that's gonna be the mailing address, okay?...I've got two words for you, David Duke. I got two more words, Nose Job, okay?"
  • A tin sign that advertises the Pontiac GTO says "Two Words... You Lose!"

  • A Steve Martin stand-up comedy routine from the 1970s. "You can be a millionaire and never pay taxes. Yes, you can have one million dollars and never pay taxes! How? First, get a million dollars. Now, you might ask, Steve, what do I do when the tax man comes by and says, 'You have never paid taxes'? Two words: 'I forgot.' How often do we get in trouble because we don't say 'I forgot'? Armed robbery? Just say, 'I forgot armed robbery was illegal.'" The bit predictably ends with, "Two words: 'Excuuuuse me!'"

    Comic Books 
  • To quote Jubilee from Generation X...
    "Three words, chump. Back and off."
  • In Issue 5 of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) comic, Rainbow Dash sums up one of her plans to rescue Rarity from the Nightmare spirits with "Two words: time machine!"
  • Toward the end of Joss Whedon's first arc on Astonishing X-Men, Wolverine tells Colossus, "I got just two words for you, Bub." We don't see him say the two words, but the next two-page spread shows what they are: Fastball Special.
  • Teen Titans Go!: This line from Beast Boy when he and Cyborg are discussing two Super Ninja Fury movies and arguing over which one is better.
    Beast Boy: Two words, Cyborg: Canadian ninjas.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide: Sonic does this after Mega Man asks if he's impressed.
    Sonic: By that little robo-snake? Two words, kid: egg viper.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dogs of C-Kennel: "Two words... Jet Lag."
  • A few from Garfield:
    • January 5, 1979:
      Jon: Do you know why you need me, Garfield? I can sum it up in two words. Quality companionship.
      Garfield: Body heat.
    • December 29, 1991:
      Garfield: Sigh. Christmas is over, and New Year's is almost here. Sigh. So it seems appropriate at this time to stop and reflect. To reflect on those three words which represent the true meaning and spirit of the holiday season... Boogie! Boogie! Boogie!
    • July 15, 1995:
      Jon: It's the weekend, and you know what that means... Two words, Garfield... “Board games”.
      Garfield: Whoa! My fun meter is a-jumpin' off the scale!
    • In the book Garfield's Book Of Super School Excuses, one of the excuses for "Why I didn't go to gym class" is "Two words: Towel snapping.", and one of the ones for "Why my library books are late" is "Two words: Hungry termites".
    • April 14, 2022:
      Garfield: If you give me a good number, I'll make it worth your while.
      Electronic Scale: You can't bribe me!
      Garfield: Two words: unlimited batteries.
      Electronic Scale: Hellooooo, Skinny!

    Fan Works 
  • Burning Vengeance has Yui ask Mephisto II how he can punish a sexual fetish demon. He replies "Two words: Enforced. Abstinence."
  • In the Danny Phantom/Beetlejuice crossover Say It Thrice, Betelgeuse gets to deliver one to the poltergeist Sanduleak.
    Betelgeuse: Two words. Sandworm bait.
  • Turnabout Storm has an exaggeration, courtesy of Pinkie Pie.
    Pinkie: You know what this calls for? Two words: A PARTY!
    Phoenix: A party?
    Pinkie: Twenty one words: Yeah, a party! You should come celebrate, too! Because I love having parties with all my friends after something good happens!
    Phoenix: [counting] "After... something... good... happens... [Beat] H-How did you...!?
  • In Finding the Truth Harry comments on Fred and George's twin-speak.
    Harry: You know that's almost more bearable with the super hearing, except when you two comment under your breaths while the other is talking. Then it's like hearing the same voice in stereo yet talking about something completely random. Two words: Headache. Inducing.
  • In Sword and Shield Hermione claims that Harry "owes" her and the student body for what they've done for him.
    Harry: I owe them nothing. They ridiculed me, teased me, pushed me down the stairs and tripped me in the halls, tearing my robes. And you! You pretended to support me but now I can tell you actually didn't! And for all the help you gave, if you had left me alone, I would have learnt it by myself sooner. And as for the adventures I only have two words- Mountain Troll!

    Films — Animation 
  • Hercules has a Running Gag where Philocetes cannot manage to use "Two words" correctly. The Latin Spanish dub makes his Last-Second Word Swap the only time Philocetes follows "Two Words" with actually two words. In the original English, Phil says "Two words: o-kay".]
    • "I am retired", however, actually does translate to two words in Greek, becoming "Είμαι συνταξιούχος."
  • Shrek: Shrek tells Donkey at one point: "Two words: Shut up!"
  • Moana: As part of the Villain Song Shiny:
    Tamatoa: I need three words to tear her argument apart: Your granny lied!
  • Ice Age: Continental Drift: While our heroes witness Captain Gutt abusing his workers (who, by the way, are about the size of gerbils), Sid remarks "Two words: Anger management."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ben Sobel, from Analyze That, is talking with a pair of police detectives, one of whom is an attractive woman in a short skirt. After his wife catches him staring at the detective's legs (and inadvertently commenting on them via a Freudian Slip), she excuses herself from the room, briefly commenting to the other woman that she should wear a pants suit instead of a skirt.
    "Two words of advice, from one professional woman to another: Pant. Suit."
  • In the film Beautiful Girls:
    • Andera tells Tommy there are four words she needs to hear before going to sleep; "Good night sweet girl."
    • Later in the film, as Marty and Willie are discussing Willie's girlfriend Tracy, Marty says, "Two words not in her vocabulary; lunch money."
  • The trope may have originated in The Graduate, with one word: "Plastics."
  • Independence Day: "Two Words, Mr. President. Plausible Deniability."
  • Sister Act
    Sister Mary Clarence: I got two words for ya, Vince!
    Mary Roberts: Mary Clarence!
    Sister Mary Clarence: ...bless you.
  • In This is Spın̈al Tap, one of the band's reviews for Shark Sandwich is "Just two words: 'Shit sandwich.'" This is one of the few times where the cast actually laughs.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: "The Shroud of Rahmon": There are two words that Cordelia does not like to hear together: "tomb" and "unearthed".
    Cordelia: OK, two words I don't like right off the bat: "tomb" and "unearthed." People, you've gotta leave your tombs earthed!''
  • In Married... with Children, when Kelly is rendered bald and bearded by the side effects of a pimple cure, the director of a beer commercial she was to star in cancels the shoot. Upon hearing this, the Straw Feminist group protesting the commercial threaten to sue.
    Director: [to Al] Can they do that? Sue on behalf of the ugly?
    Al Bundy: Four words: Attorney General Janet Reno.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Ordered by Buffy to explain what he's doing in five words, Spike retorts "Out. For. A. Walk." Realizing he still has one left, he adds, "Bitch."
    • "Consequences": Wesley is quite taken with Cordelia the first time he sees her, describing her as "cheeky," but Faith deflates him by commenting, "Uh, first word: jail; second word: bait."
    • "Dead Man's Party": Principal Snyder refuses to allow Buffy back into school, so Giles goes to have a quiet word.
    Snyder: If the word is Buffy, then I have two words. "Good" and "Riddance".
  • Supernatural. The jailbait gag is also used when Dean insists on being the one to interview a high-school cheerleader.
  • Gavin & Stacey, when Smithy goes to the stag party organiser:
    Jammy the Stag Party Organiser: One word:
    Overhead Projector: PRAGUE
    Jammy: Two words:
    Projector: PISS UP
    Jammy: One word:
    Projector: TITS
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the episode "The Christmas Invasion", The Doctor emphasizes to everyone present that with only six words he can bring down Harriet Jones' government. He says the words "Don't you think she looks tired?" and Harriet Jones' government collapses within the day.
    • In the Series 3 finale, Martha Jones prepares everyone in the world to say "just one word.. Doctor" at the exact same instant and, with spectacular use of a Chekhov's Gun (somehow), brings the Doctor back to his original state and saves the entire planet.
    • At the end of "Turn Left", Donna relays a message from Rose to the Doctor: "She told me to tell you two words... Bad Wolf". Cue the Doctor's Oh, Crap! and the Cloister Bell for emphasis.
    • In "Last Christmas", when the Doctor, Clara and several others encounter Santa Claus:
      Shona: This is not happening!
      Santa: I've got three words, Shona, don't make me use them... My Little Pony!
    • Madame Vastra gives Clara one word for her emergency message to the Doctor from the Victorian period. One word: Pond.
  • Played with in 30 Rock:
    Donaghy: One word: Surge.
    Tracy: That's two words!
  • One Whose Line Is It Anyway? improv game starts by giving each player a number, and they had to act out a scene by speaking only lines consisting of that number of words. Hilarity Ensues.
    Stephen Fry: [6 words] Well I'm sorry, but it gets. [beat] My goat to hear her talk!
  • In the Grand Finale of Chuck, Chuck has a showdown with the Big Bad on the roof of a concert hall. The villain gloats about how he's set up a bomb that will go off once the music stops. (Chuck already knew about this.) He listens as the orchestra finishes its performance and waits for the bomb to go off. Suddenly, we hear the opening drumwork of "Take On Me".
    Big Bad: What's that? What is that?
    Chuck: One word: Jeffster.
  • Gossip Girl: "3 words, 8 letters; say it and I'm yours." The 3 words in question are "I love you," but there have also been jokes about it: "I got food."
  • From a Whitest Kids U Know sketch:
    Executioner: Do you have any last words?
    Prisoner: YES, JUST THREE.
  • The West Wing episode "Stirred" has Bartlet explain that the reason he wants to keep Hoynes as his vice-president is "four words," which he writes down: "Because I could die."
  • In the Boy Meets World episode "Honesty Night", Cory suggests to Topanga that they should pretend to be still estranged despite their recent reconciliation so Shawn can save the day and not feel left out. Topanga doesn't think of this as a good idea while Mr. Feeny sees this as a disaster in the making and decides to intervene, prompting the following exchange:
    Mr. Feeny: I have five words: Topanga is correct.
    Cory: That's only three.
    Mr. Feeny: You moron.
  • A predator on Dateline spawned a meme by defending himself like this. "Two words: 'Role-playing chatroom', dude."

  • Kanye West's album College Dropout has a song called "Two Words".

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Used as a Catchphrase by D-Generation X from WWE...
    "We've got Two Words for ya!! SUCK IT!!!"
  • Paul Heyman tried this on Edge during the first One Night Stand PPV.
    Heyman: "Since no one with a written promo has the balls to say this to you, but I have two words for you... MATT FREAKIN' HARDY!"
    Edge: "That's three words."


    Video Games 
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: Debriefing for "New direction": "Two words: Robot. Army. Two more: heck yeah!"
  • In Destroy All Humans! 2, Crypto tries to convince British hippies that Arkvoodle has the best collection of music in the galaxy. When they ask what Arkvoodle listens to, Crypto says "Three words. And one of them's a disease. Blind Willie Syphilis."
  • Dog's Life: When Hank asks Clarisse if the caller is available again she replies “One word: Uh-uh.”
  • Escape from Monkey Island: On Jambalaya Island, part of Stan's pitch for his latest business venture includes the phrase "Two words: time-share."
  • There was a Spider-Man text adventure for the Commodore 64 whose parser only understood two word commands ("go north", "take mcguffin", etc). So when you wanted to web something up, you had to use the command "shoot web", to which the game would reply: "In two words: AT WHAT?" after which you then had to enter another two word command like "at sandman".
  • In Sonic Lost World, Sonic encounters Zomom, The Brute of the Deadly Six, eating a giant sandwich.
    Sonic: One word of helpful advice: diet and exercise.
    Zomom: That's three words.
  • In Tales of Monkey Island, if Guybrush asks Hemlock McGee what happened to his legs in Chapter 1:
    Hemlock: Four words — The. Marquis. De. Singe.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories: Phil in Olympus Coliseum, and he keeps getting the number of words wrong, as pointed out by Goofy Comically Missing the Point:
    Phil: Two words: You! Ain't! Heroes!
    Sora: You're wrong!
    Goofy: Yeah, he said three words.
    • This is repeated later in this same world, after Hades is defeated:
      Sora: The games are canceled? How come?
      Phil: Three words: everyone's pooped!
      Goofy: Wait a minute, that was only two—
      Sora: You gotta be kidding!
  • In Injustice 2, from one of the pre-fight conversations between the Flash and Cyborg:
    Flash: How can you not have regrets, Victor?
    Cyborg: Because I know we did the right thing.
    Flash: Two words: Billy Batson.

  • The Order of the Stick:
    • After Haley had her voice scrambled for months, an attack on the thieves guild is a chance for the three words Haley'd been longing to say:
      Haley: Sneak attack — bitch!
    • Later lampshaded when Bozzok tries to pull the same "two words: sneak attack!" gag:
      Haley: Oh my gods, I've done that "two words" gag like nine times already! You're going to need some fresher material if you want to be a villain in this story. Not that much fresher, but still.
    • Shojo reminds Roy that Roy's in as deep as he is with all these deceptions with Two Words: "your trial," then elaborates about the extent he went to rig things so they would be found not guilty of weakening the fabric of reality (as opposed to having mitigating circumstances).
    • When Xykon is warned about dissension in the ranks:
      Xykon Well, I've got two words for goblin morale: Goblin zombies.
    • And again in strip 252:
      Nale: Oh really? Please explain why we're suddenly in such a hurry.
      Sabine: Four words: Out of fudge ripple.
      Thog: oh, little ice cream friends! thog delays boredom-driven rampage only for you!
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Tagon is trying to recruit Massey into joining the Toughs as their attorney. Massey refuses, as ever since meeting the Toughs he's been put in numerous life and death situations. And now that the Partnership Collective wants to assassinate him, all Massey really wants is some bodyguards. Tagon response: "Two words: Armed Mercenaries." Cut to Massey signing the recruitment forms.
    • Massey's initial refusal started with one as well: "Two words: No way.".
    • Earlier in the story Tagon gave one to Breya: "Two words: Bomb on board." That it was three words wasn't lost on the "admiral".
    • In a later arc the temporarily in command Kevyn leveraged his reputation as the resident Mad Scientist to intimidate the grunts into behaving with two words: “Guinea Pigs.” And a couple arcs later his future self scared his past self by completing the sentence first.

    Web Original 
  • Homestar Runner: In the Strong Bad Email "radio", Strong Bad demonstrates how a typical College Radio DJ tends to be a mumbling, awkward "bewildered freshman" and says "College radio can pretty much be summed up in five words: Dead air, 'um', dead air."
  • According to SF Debris's Chuck Sonnenburg in part 1 of his Nightsisters review, there was a two word review for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated movie: "Shit sandwich." Which he then reuses more than half a minute later to describe his opinion on the first episode of the cartoon based off of said movie.
  • In Ten Little Roosters, Ryan has to play Charades with Miles to get him to put on the headset in the soundbooth.
    Miles: [Ryan holds up two fingers] Two words. [Ryan does gesture for sound] Sounds like... [Ryan flips off Miles] Go fuck yourse— Oh, you want me to put on the headset.

    Western Animation 
  • Darkwing Duck after facing a huge fire-breathing monster; "Two words, breath mint."
  • In the "Late Show" episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, the #1 line on the "Big Ten list" is "'Two words.' * beat* That's it, just... 'two words.'"
  • Exaggerated in The Spectacular Spiderman. In response to Peter's protest, J. Jonah Jameson asks him to scram, followed by him giving a 17-word suggestion. Humor ensues when Peter questions how fast talking J.J. Jameson could count the amount of words he would use in his next sentence in the split second it took him to say the words.
    "How about scram? Or two words: Scram kid? Or seventeen: Get out of my office in two-point-three seconds, or I'll staple you to a flagpole!"
  • The Fairly OddParents! has Cosmo say "two words: mouth wash" in one episode. Wanda corrects him by telling him mouthwash is one word, after which Cosmo says mouthwash twice to correct this.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Episode "I Married Marge" parodies the practice by making the "'n'" of "and" half a word when Patty says, "Marge, I've got two-and-a-half words for you. Gulp. 'N'. Blow."
    • When Lisa asks for advice on how to gently let down Ralph Wiggum, Homer suggests, "Six simple words: I'm not gay, but I'll learn."
  • A couple instances arise in Teen Titans (2003):
    • In "Apprentice Part 2" as the team is investigating why Robin chose to work for Slade:
    Beast Boy: Three words: Disgruntled radioactive clone.
    • In "Wavelength", after Beast Boy coughs up his teammates:
    Raven: Two words: Breath Mints.
  • In Total Drama Action, when the castmates have to vote off two at once, Lindsay refers to them each as a single word because she hates how much they keep making out:
    Lindsay: [In confessional] Two words: Bridgette and Geoff!
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: In "I Am Cleopatra", Xavier doesn't know how to ask his parents if he can stay up late to see a supermoon. Yadina suggests telling them that Xavier has two words: "Super. Moon." Xavier points out that it did not work when Dr. Zoom wanted "More. Pie."
  • Young Justice (2010). At the end of "Alpha Males", Kid Flash has taken the red beret worn by the ape Monsieur Mallah as a Battle Trophy.
    Artemis: What are you grinning about?
    Kid Flash: One word: "souvenir"! (puts on the beret)
    Artemis: Two words: "gorilla lice".
    Kid Flash: Ugh! Oh, man! (Immediately takes the beret off)

    Real Life 

Two words, The Stinger.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): One Word, Two Words, Two Words Obvious Trope


Two words...or seventeen!

Hilariously exaggerated. When Peter tries to confront his boss, J. Jonah Jameson makes one demanding he scram. Then a 17-word one. Peter is dumfounded that he could count the exact number of words he'd use for his next sentence before even speaking them.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / TwoWordsAddedEmphasis

Media sources: