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You Didn't Ask

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Sarge: You mean you could have turned the bomb off any time!? Why didn't you tell us? And don't say I didn't—
Gary: You didn't ask.
Sarge: [growls in irritation]

A character on the show has been less than forthcoming about information that would have certainly helped the protagonist figure things out faster. Often, there's a good reason — a Big Secret or an Awful Truth, for example. In reality, the writers just needed a way to protract the story or build the suspense.

There are two ways this trope is generally employed:

Similar excuses include;

  1. ignorance/forgetfulness: "I thought you already knew/I already told you."
  2. assumption: "I thought it was obvious."
  3. ignorance: "I Thought Everyone Could Do That."
  4. underestimation: "It Seemed Trivial."
  5. embarrassment: "I really didn't want to talk about it."
  6. disgrace: "I hoped I'd never have to admit it."
  7. danger (except the most dire circumstances): "I hoped we'd find an alternative."
  8. anger: "Why didn't *you* listen?!"
  9. dismissal: ("You told me to [Air Quotes] "Shut Up!"").

A Trickster Mentor, vague prophet, or similar enigmatic figure may deliberately withhold information until asked, either because they can't reveal it otherwise or they need the other characters to keep consulting with them. On rare occasions, they do this because they know the information wouldn't be believed or make sense until a specific time.

This idea is often used when computers or Artificial Intelligence are involved. Because computers are extremely literal, it often happens that the computer or AI knows the answer to solve the problem, but since they weren't asked (or weren't asked correctly), they won't use this knowledge on their own.

A stock response to You Never Did That for Me. Compare Didn't See That Coming and Locked Out of the Loop. Often, They Didn't Ask about something that could have prevented the whole mess (mostly if it would've ended the episode/work prematurely and left the characters with nothing to do). Contrast with Lying by Omission, where the character was asked but withheld the information by using an incomplete answer.

You Can Talk? may also figure in the conversation.


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  • In a commercial for Ally Bank, there are two girls in a room with a man. He asks one, "Would you like a pony?" When she accepts, he gives her a small plastic toy pony. He then asks the other, "Would you like a pony?" When she accepts, he clicks his tongue a few times to bring out a real pony for her.
    Girl With Toy: You didn't say I could have a real one.
    Businessman: Well, you didn't ask.
  • An Australian radio ad for a company capable of cashing cheques without a waiting period or something of the sort:
    Bloke 1: Why didn't you tell me about [company]?
    Bloke 2: You didn't ask, mate. You didn't ask.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Butler: Ciel's reasoning when Sebastian asked why he never told him that he had asthma.
  • Bleach:
    • Kisuke Urahara spams and subverts this trope. He's a Well-Intentioned Extremist Guile Hero. He'll do the right thing, sure, but he'll lie, trick and manipulate just about everything he says and everyone he meets. However, as Ichigo observes in Chapter 491, if Urahara is asked to give the information, he refuses rather than playing this trope straight and revealing it when asked.
    • Ichigo gets really shocked when he finds out Yoruichi has a brother and asks why she never mentioned him before. She says she didn't think it was important and asks why she should just randomly tell people facts like that.
  • Death Note. Used by Ryuk whenever Light comes across a new Death Note rule that hinders his plans. This is entirely on purpose from Ryuk, as by his own admission everything he does is For the Lulz, and watching Light scramble to come up with new plans is very entertaining.
  • Marcille from Delicious in Dungeon is a half-elf, something the rest of her party only learn near the end of their adventure. When Laios asks her about this, she says she wasn't trying to hide it, she just never found a good opportunity to tell them. The World Guide adds that she felt if she was going to tell them, then she'd have to give her whole life story along with it and she didn't have the time for that.
  • In The Demon Girl Next Door, Lico had been enchanting the cafe's food to give it an extra effect of relaxing the person who eats it and letting them forget their troubles for a bit. While not harmful in small amounts, eating too much of it becomes a problem. She never bothered mentioning the negative side effects of her magical cooking until it made Yuko hyperactive and forgetful after she ate a large amount of the cafe's leftovers. Even Shirosawa didn't know she was doing it.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Android 16's response, complete with smirk, when 17 asks why he hadn't mentioned he could detect power levels. 17 accepted the answer with a Touché.
    • In Dragon Ball, Goku's response to Bulma and Krillin realizing the Red Ribbon Army was after him was "No one ever asked me about the Red Ribbon Army."
  • In Ergo Proxy, Re-l is complaining about the lack of power in Mosc Dome when her companion, the Robot Girl Pino, happily chimes in that the power is in fact working.
    Re-l: Why didn't you say something?
    Pino: Why didn't you ask me?
  • Full Metal Panic!:
    • A variation of this appears in The Second Raid. During a mission where Mao and Kurz are escaping from the enemies chasing them, they end up getting into Sôsuke's car, resulting in a car Chase Scene complete with the enemy shooting at them. Both Kurz and Mao lament "if only we had the weapons to shoot back at them," and Sôsuke proceeds to ignore them. Then, they notice the enemy catching up, resulting in them realizing they need to lighten the car so they can go faster. They contemplate throwing out their kidnap target from the car.
      Sôsuke: Throwing out his body won't be enough and I think the weapons in the backseat are weighting us down, too. Let's scuttle everything.
      Mao and Kurz: Weapons?! (they pull down the backseat, revealing a whole arsenal of rifles, ammo and a rocket launcher) Why didn't you tell us?!?
      Sôsuke: (deadpan) I thought I did.
      Mao: But you didn't, dumbass...
    • In fairness to Sousuke, evasive driving is a taxing job, and both of the other two have known him long enough that they should be aware he keeps weapons hidden everywhere.
  • A dramatic one in HappinessCharge Pretty Cure!, Iona finally asks Hime why she opened the Axia Box and is told that she was tricked into doing so. When she asks why she didn't say so earlier, Hime points out that she tried to, but she kept getting scolded at by Iona. After her Break the Badass moment last episode, Iona realizes that all of that could have been avoided if she stopped for five seconds to find out the reasons instead of constantly painting her as a villain.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler has an odd take on this. After 88 chapters, he reveals to the other girls that he's had a girlfriend in the past, and she's the reason that he's completely clueless about all the other girls all but throwing themselves at him, even the one who's actually confessed to him. Even later he reveals who this girl is, and everyone realizes that they know of her and one of them was actually seen as her best friend. The phrase is never actually spoken, but there are reaction shots with this being their expression.
    • Given the amount of mistaken dialogue present, this could clear up most of the confusion of the story. One of the characters seems to have gotten smart about this. Granted, sometimes it's refused, even when one of the girls is asked directly, she can't answer.
  • In HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, when Tsubomi, Erika and the recently-recruited Itsuki arrive at the Great Heart Tree for the first time, Itsuki makes mention of the Cure Moonlight dream. Erika wanted to know why she didn't say anything about it and Itsuki really didn't think too much of it. To their credit, though, Tsubomi and Erika were going to ask Itsuki over it, but Itsuki's concerns over her ailing brother took precedence.
  • Tono in I Think Our Son Is Gay talks freely about the man who turns out to be his boyfriend, but doesn't confirm that they're in a relationship until one of his coworkers asks him directly. He admits that he finds it easier just to wait until the topic comes up in conversation.
  • In Macross Delta, Hayate asks why Commander Arad never mentioned that he knew Hayate's father. Arad drops this trope, to which Hayate replies "What the hell's with that response?"
  • In the fourth sound stage of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Erio and Caro are shocked when Lutecia tells them that her mother has been out of her coma for over a week. When they ask why she didn't tell them when they last visited her, she says they never asked.
    • In the first series, Yuuno shocks Nanoha by revealing that he was actually a Human boy. He thought that he told her already.
  • My Hero Academia: Izuku Midoriya is shocked when All Might casually admits that he was Quirkless before receiving the power of One For All. Since the admission was made after Midoriya's match with Todoroki, and All Might and Midoriya have known each other for a while, Midoriya asks why All Might hadn't told him, and All Might simply says you never asked. He does it again when its revealed that All Might was originally going to give his Quirk to Miro Togata, but he ended up meeting Midoriya first. This is a habit that he seems to have taken from his mentor/predecessor, Nana Shimura, as according to All Might and Gran Torino, Shimura also had a bad habit of not revealing important information simply because they never asked her.
  • Naruto:
    • Second variation in Episode 111 of Shippuden. Naruto decides he needs a fire element attack. One of his summoned toads casually mentions that he can use one. Of course, when asked why he never mentioned this before, the reply was that he never asked.
    • The manga goes on for hundreds of chapters and only near the end is it learned that the tailed beasts actually have names. The shinobi typically consider them to be nothing more than mindless monsters or weapons, so they never thought to inquire about their names, which has led to a lot of deeply-held anger on the beast's part that none of the ninja ever bothered to ask them.
  • No Game No Life: Sora asks Steph what the chances are of drawing the ace of spades from a normal deck (minus the jokers) are. Steph says one in fifty-two. Sora says that normally that's correct... but if it's a brand-new deck, the ace of spades will be on the bottom, making it easy to draw intentionally. He admits that he didn't specify it was a brand-new deck, but then, she didn't ask. His point is that the reason she keeps losing is because she doesn't have enough information; she just accepts the rules as presented to her.
  • One Piece
    • Luffy knew since childhood that Ace was the son of Gold Roger, but never mentioned it because he doesn't care. Sort of funny, considering how bad he otherwise was at keeping secrets.
      • The same applies to the fact that Luffy himself is the son of Monkey D. Dragon, the leader of the Revolutionaries, and the grandson of Monkey D. Garp, a Marine Admiral; he just never thought it was relevant enough to tell people without being asked about it first. Justified in Dragon's case: Luffy didn't even knew who he was until Garp tell him in the Water 7 arc. Used for a joke too in One Piece Film: Red, when Luffy reveals that Shanks had an adopted daughter, Uta, but only because he was asked how he knew a celebrity like her.
    • A smaller example came in the Alabasta arc: After travelling across half the kingdom to get to the rebel based in Yuba, they find out it was moved to Katorea, a city near where they started. They could have been saved most of the trip if Eyelash(es) (the camel who Chopper was able to talk to) mentioned that the wagon full of guns that accidentally brought Chopper to Katorea was being used by the rebels. He was promptly kicked in the face by Luffy, Sanji, and Usopp for not mentioning this, scoffs it off, and is then kicked in the face again.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica
    • This is Kyubey's response when asked why he never mentioned that the process of creating a magical girl involves removing their soul from their body.
    • In fact, that's his standard MO. He has never told an outright lie, not even when asked a direct question, but he never tells the whole truth either. He frequently decides to not divulge key pieces of information, like the one described above, or magical girls risking, if not being outright doomed, to turn into their enemies, witches, through The Corruption, whenever mentioning it might harm his goals. The one time he had to be deceptive — in ascribing motives to his antagonist Homura — he merely provoked another girl into speculating about her, then nodded and said nothing. One might chalk this up to his Blue-and-Orange Morality, and suggest that he doesn't understand why humans consider this information important... but he knows that they think it's important, and so he deliberately avoids it: "This is exactly why I didn't tell you. I always get the same reaction every time I say it."
    • His unwillingness to explain anything extends even to the basic powers he grants the girls. For example, he neglects to mention Sayaka's Healing Factor until after she had been beaten within an inch of her life, and Kyouko and Madoka ask how she's still standing.
    • He's the main source of exposition, by the way. There are major setting elements that the audience only has his word on.
  • In Ranma ½, this is literally Ukyô Kuonji's explanation for not revealing that Wholesome Crossdresser Tsubasa Kurenai was a boy she met while infiltrating an all-boy's school until after Ranma has been running around trying to "out-girl" him. For added bonus, she claims that since nobody asked, she figured they must have known — Akane immediately Lampshades how stupid an assumption that is.
  • In Sankarea, the girl attached a GPS to Sanka. Professor Boil berates her for not telling anyone as they have been looking for her for the past few days. She causally replies in her defense, "no one asked me".
  • In The Savior's Book Café Story in Another World, "God" can give his chosen saviors as many magical wishes as they want, but they always assume that they can only grant one wish. Tsukina is the first person to ask and he grants all of her wishes, being as specific to what she wants that she's able.
  • Slayers: Xellos often cheerfully informs the group of such hidden things when they finally ask him about them incredulously. Examples include the fact he used their entire planned heist as a distraction for his, his nature as a mazoku (demon), and numerous other such subjects. However, he does have limits: if he doesn't feel like revealing something, his trademark Catchphrase "That... is a secret!" is all anyone's going to get from him.

    This is very justified in Xellos's case, since he feeds on negative emotions and gets quite a bit of pleasure out of watching the others squirm. There's also the fact that his goals are often different from those of the group... When the group discovers that Xellos is actually evil, it turns out that Gourry was aware of the fact the entire time, but didn't say anything because he thought it was obvious.
  • Tiger & Bunny: Kotetsu just kind of forgot to tell all his coworkers (sans Antonio) — for at least a year — that he's a widower with a preteen daughter. They were understandably surprised. Especially Karina.
    Karina: You'll make a great father someday.
    Antonio: He already is.
    Karina: What.
  • Urusei Yatsura: In one manga chapter, Ataru, Lum and several of their friends went camping. Lum was making lunch and everyone were happy...but Ataru. He — who usually eats ANYTHING and EVERYTHING he can have his hands on — adamantly refused to eat. His friends nagged him about rudely rejecting Lum's food...and then they tried it. Right away they dragged it away and asked him why he had not warned them that Lum's food is very spicy. His answer? They did not ask (and he did not want to warn them).

    Comic Books 
  • In a Fantastic Four comic, Ben finds out that for years, Reed has been taking a cut of the profits from each of his inventions and depositing it in a bank account in Ben's name. When Ben asks why Reed never told him about this, Reed's response is "I... assumed you knew." followed by several flashback scenes of the team meeting with their accountant for the annual financial review. Reed, Sue, and Johnny are all shown being very attentive and taking notes. Ben, on the other hand, is reading a magazine, playing with a Rubik's Cube, playing with a Gameboy, totally not paying attention... and Ben only found out because he was lamenting about not having any money. The team accountant, who was standing right there, told Ben that his money was just fine. The accountant said it in a very matter-of-fact manner, assuming Ben knew about it because for years, he'd been sitting in annual meetings where his finances were reviewed.
  • In the Green Lantern miniseries Emerald Dawn, when Hal Jordan asks why the lantern never told him it could talk, it responded "No inquiry was made". Immediately lampshaded by Hal.
    Hal Jordan: "You never asked." Right. Silly of me.
  • In Invincible Iron Man, Tony Stark has been in a coma and Riri has been aided by an A.I. of him. When Tony is missing, a huge search is on with various twists and dead ends. Talking it over, it suddenly hits Mary Jane and Riri that they've failed to see if the A.I. knows about what happened. After a long pause under their gazes, the Tony A.I. states "To be fair... no one directly asked me before now."
  • Elbee's reason in Knights of the Old Republic for never mentioning a very crucial fact from #10 until 37 issues later. The Mandalorian warrior Rohlan Dyre weighed 17 kilos less after returning from picking up the unconscious war criminal Demagol, thus proving that Demagol has been impersonating Rohlan the whole time.
  • The Mighty Thor: Nick Fury once showed up in one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Flying Cars to pick up Thor's civilian identity — yeah, S.H.I.E.L.D. knew who he was, anyway. When Thor made his transformation, Fury nearly lost control of the car, and exclaimed, "Why didn't ya warn me about the special effects?!" Thor's response: "Thou didst not ask."
  • This seems to be an actual mystic rule binding the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone in The Sandman (1989). Even if they want to help a questioner — and they often don't — they can't unless the questioner asks the right questions.
  • Examples from Supergirl stories:
    • In The Supergirl from Krypton (2004), when Superman tells Supergirl that he didn't know she could already use her X-Ray Vision, Kara answers: "You didn't ask".
      Superman: You noticed the lead, hmm? I didn't know your X-Ray vision had kicked in.
      Supergirl: You didn't ask.
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton, when Supergirl demands to know why neither of her partners warned her that she'd die if she took her Red Ring off, Guy Gardner answers it wasn't an easy thing to bring up, i.e., she didn't ask.
  • X-Men:
    • Claremont did this with Wolverine's real name. From his first appearance all the way to the end of The Dark Phoenix Saga, his teammates only knew him as "Wolverine". The audience first learned it second-hand from a leprechaun, and first-hand later on in a conversation with his then-love interest. But the X-Men themselves only learned during a reconciliation with Alpha Flight that his name was "Logan". When asked why he didn't share this information, well... you can guess his answer.
    • Wolvie was the living embodiment of this trope while Claremont was building him up. "You speak Japanese?" "You worked with them?" etc. For a while it was practically his Catchphrase.
    • It was also turned around one time, when Wolverine was surprised ("I didn't know.") to learn that the Beast speaks Pashtun, and Hank replied....

    Fan Works 
  • This was why Rei never told Asuka that she could speak German (well, read it anyways, her pronunciation is a little wonky) in Advice and Trust until the latter's birthday party.
  • In the Alternate Tail Series, when the main team learns that Levy's grandfather was a Wizard Saint, Mira aks her why she didn't meantion it sooner. Levy jokes that they never asked.
  • An 'April Fool's' Errand: When Hermes reveals to Hades that he has a holiday dedicated to him, it takes him completely off-guard. It is not until he finds out that it comes from Rome does the astonishment end, Hades not all that crazy about Rome and the name they gave him.
  • A rather extreme case in Arrowverse: Leagues, Back Siren turns out to be a deep cover agent. The reason she never said anything? No one ever asked her a thing, no interrogations even. Caught between "heroes" who wrote her off as a villain but couldn't be bothered to ask her any questions (or see inconsistencies) and villains trying to recruit her (and would kill her if they suspected a thing), she was forced to play along. She's rather annoyed by the whole thing.
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: Team CFVY gets mad at Team JNPR for not telling them anything about what happened to Team RWBY, only for Nora to defuse them by pointing out that they didn't ask Ozpin. This causes one member to lose a bet they had made with another one. JNPR themselves had only asked due to concerning rumors being spread by Team CRDL, who happened to be the closest team to where Team RWBY had gone.
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series uses this as the MTM's reason for not telling Calvin his data extractor would bring the mummies to life in "Pharaoh Andrew".
  • A Crown of Stars: In chapter 64 Shinji is going to play his cello in front of a crowd. He is supposed to have a partner playing the violin but he does not know who that person is. When Asuka shows up he is surprised and asks why she never told him she played violin. Asuka has a long answer and a short one. The short answer is he did not ask.
    Shinji: [whispering] Why didn’t you ever tell me you could play the violin?! And why did you disappear all afternoon? We could have been rehearsing!
    Asuka: [smirking] You never asked, Baka-Shinji.
  • In Different House this is Theo's excuse for not telling Harry that Slytherin has its own private potions lab.
  • In A Different Path Sirius casts a glamour spell on McGonagall so she can pose as a Muggle doctor.
    Sirius: I really hope I don't have to do that again anytime soon.
    McGonagall: It was your own fault for throwing in an audio glamour on top of everything. I can do a convincing German accent if need be.
    Sirius: Well why didn't you say so?
    McGonagall: You didn't ask.
  • In Eiga Sentai Scanranger, a story set in Japan has a member of the team dumbstruck to learn that their mentor can speak Japanese (whereupon she quotes the line). This isn't that big a deal to begin with, but it's even dumber because not only is the one who notices a Japanese guy who also speaks Japanese and English, the mentor knowing a second language doesn't even come in handy because a friendly alien uses her powers to enable everyone to understand each other.
  • This is Bill's justification in Faking It for never telling Dipper that he and Cipher were the same person.
    "Name’s Bill Cipher. You never asked if I had a last name, kid."
  • In The Gender Bend Cliche, Luca promises to kiss the seemingly drunk Natsu if she can prove she's actually sober by remembering the promise the next day. Natsu was able to remember the promise, but wouldn't get the kiss until over a year later. Why?
    Luca: Natsu, you never told me you remembered.
    Natsu: Oops?
  • Getting It Right: Played with (and possibly inverted), in the fourth chapter, to Guile Hero Bunny-Ears Lawyer Urahara from The Hero, Ichigo:
    Urahara: You didn't tell me you were a Vizard.
    Ichigo: You never asked.
  • In Harry Potter and the Dream Come True this is a sentient sword's excuse for not mentioning its ability to turn into a ring and speak to Harry telepathically.
  • Averted with a vengeance in A Hero. Dalek Sec does not accept that logic when confronting Kyubey on this.
    Kyubey: They did not ask,
  • The Hero and the Veela:
    Calypso: Why didn't you tell me you were a speaker? Or that you had venom in your veins?
    Harry: You didn't ask.
  • Hope is Fleeting:
    Sorting Hat: I didn't say I wouldn't help, Miss Granger, only that finding students who don't want to be found is not my purpose. When the Founders enchanted me, each one put a bit of themselves into me. That includes the ability to speak parseltongue. As this is a talent not looked upon very favorably, I've never made the ability public. If Fawkes will take us to the entrance, I will open it. Once the entrance is open and we are in the Chamber, Fawkes should be able to take us to Mr. Potter, assuming this is where he is. The entrance was already open when Fawkes and I went to assist Mr. Potter the last time. An entrance must be open to get through the wards Salazar placed on his Chamber.
    Hermione: You mean you've known all this time where the Chamber is and never said anything?
    Sorting Hat: Nobody asked me.
  • How the Light Gets In: Multiple:
    • Felicity is surprised to learn that Laurel gardens. Laurel inwardly muses that she, and indeed most members of Team Arrow, have really never asked any details about her life.
    • A sort of third-person variant: Sara is dumbfounded to learn Oliver had no idea Mary attends physical therapynote 
      Sara: You [and Laurel] worked side by side for almost two years and you didn't know her daughter has physical therapy twice a month?
      Oliver: [defensively] She never told me. [Beat] I never asked. I guess I never asked much about her family at all.
    • In Chapter 12, Thea casually offers to send Sara and Sam a private jet so they can return more quickly, only to get incredulous stares from everyone.
      Sara: You have a private jet?!
      Thea: [genuinely confused] Of course I have a private jet.
      Sara: This whole time?! Thea, we had to fly coach. I sat next to a guy who puked for the entire four hours and Sam's a fucking tree and YOU HAVE A PRIVATE JET?!
      Thea: You could have asked.
  • I'm Nobody: Roxas does this to the point of almost being a Running Gag - he obtains a new ability or piece of information in a way that the rest ofthe Normandy Crew don't know, and then he busts out that something he obtained. Obviously the others ask him why he didn't mention it, and Roxas replies with this trope. It eventually gets Lampshaded when Axel complains that he uses this line for everything.
  • Improvisation:
    Hermione: What makes you think that Harry will have reasoned things out the way that you have? Surely he wouldn't have known any of that information –- I've yet to see either of you read anything outside of the required texts!
    Ron: Just because he didn't read it doesn't mean he doesn't know. Harry's as curious about the magical world as dad is about the Muggle one! He badgers me and Neville about random things we hardly even think of all of the time –- says it's fascinating.
    Hermione: Why didn't you tell me any of these things?!
    Ron: You never asked.
  • In The Infinite Loops, this was the reason Yoda managed to go for a long time without anybody realizing he was a looper.
  • J-WITCH Series: Uncle gives this reply when Jackie, Jade and Tohru are bewildered to learn that he used to date Yan Lin.
  • Justice: In Chapter 19, the Deckhands are indignant about Luffy letting Ace (of the Royal Flush Gang) join the core crew as a Pirate Apprentice. Played for Drama when Luffy answers with this trope; Ace asked to join, they didn't. And they haven't asked since they learned the truth because they're still apprehensive about the whole thing.
  • LadyBugOut: When asked why he's never offered to help her run the titular blog, Chat Noir uses this as his defense. He then attempts to guilt-trip her over it, only for Ladybug to turn the tables by pointing out that she did tell him about the blog right from the start, and he never asked her to get involved.
    Ladybug: You're always so quick to invite me out to places. I figured you'd insist on helping as soon as I mentioned it, if you'd really wanted to help.
  • Maria Campbell of the Astral Clocktower: Maria, while on probation for receiving Dark Magic against her will, never returns home for summer break. Her friends and love interest scramble to find her, to no avail, until they hear that she dismantled a criminal conspiracy in a city near the border. They go off to find her, but before they do they demand to know why the Ministry isn't panicking over having lost track of a valuable and dangerous asset. The Ministry, a bit smugly, explains that they didn't lose track of her; Maria informed them ahead of time what her plans were so that they wouldn't think she was fleeing the country, and has been sending them regular updates ever since. Nobody thought to ask them where she was.
  • Mauling Snarks:
    • Why doesn't Taylor record her Super-Strength when applying for the Wards? The forms didn't ask for artificially-granted superpowers.
    • The PRT deliberately avoids telling Wards about certain aspects of the job, like access key classes, access to the garage, and certain secret passages in the building, in order to encourage them to ask the right questions instead of waiting for information to be given to them. Besides, it's all there in the PRT informational app; they just need to look it up. Subverted both because they DID ask, but also because they didn't have security clearance to READ those manuals due to a paperwork oversight.
  • The Medium Between Life and Death:
    Harry: Right...any ideas where Professor Hufflepuff's cup might be?
    Death: It's in Bellatrix Lestrange's vault at Gringotts.
    Ignotus: You knew that the whole time?! You could have just told us where they all were? Why didn't you say anything?!
    Death: You didn't ask.
  • Supergirl (2015) fanfic my youth is yours: During the Mxyzptlk chapter, Mon-El mentions it's too bad they can't get him to say his name backwards to banish him. He had assumed they knew about that rule (unlike in the show, where he was deliberately hiding it) and already decided it was too impractical. He does have a point; Kara at first dismisses it, but eventually figures out she can trick Mxy into writing it instead.
  • New Beginnings (Smallville): When Oliver Queen asks why Clark Kent never told him his real age during their first meeting, Clark replies Ollie never asked, and it was not relevant anyway.
    Oliver Queen: So, you never told me you were fourteen, what's that about?
    Clark Kent: You never asked and it didn't really matter, did it?
    Oliver Queen: I guess not, I was just surprised, that's all.
  • Nymph and the Corrupted Miraculous: Plagg's reason not to tell Adrien his name as soon as he remembered it.
  • In On the Shoulders of Giants, Rabbi Noah Bergman gives this as the reason he never told his friend, an Asari with AI-phobia (He didn't know about the phobia) that he, himself, was an AI. It's more of a case of cultural differences, as AI's are considered no different from other citizens in the group Bergman is part of, and he's honestly confused as to why Tela (the Asari) is freaking out.
  • Parseltongue is Really Very Ordinary:
    Harry: Alright. That'ss enough being a Gryffindor; I've reached my limit of stupid for the day. Now I'm getting a teacher. Why didn't you tell me you sssmell-tasted a really giant ssserpent earlier?
    Storm: You never asked how big it was. I thought you knew. Isn't it obviouss?
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: In the sequel Picking Up the Pieces, when Sweet Surprise's marriage is revealed, she never wore her wedding ring at work (as it didn’t fit on her helmet) and never otherwise mentioned it because it never came up.
  • Pokemon Loud Version -- Kanto: When Lisa asks Professor Oak why he never told her that Lincoln became legally emancipated when he became a Pokemon Trainer, Oak answers that he assumed she knew considering she never asked.
  • A Posse Ad Esse has an example similar to the Scanranger one above, which is then subverted:
    Dolly: Wait, ye can spick English?
    Dub: Wait, you can too?! Why didn't you say?! I've been stuck with no one to talk to and you spoke English all this time?
    Dolly: Ye ne'er bothered tae ask.
    Dub: I did try, once, but you barked and growled at me. Remember?
  • A variant occurs in The Legend of Zelda fic Raising Link. After a fairy leads a nine year old Link to the Temple of Souls, Cia and Lana have to figure out what to do with him. The former wants to keep him there and raise him to be their lover, and while the latter secretly wants the same, she feels that Link would be better off at Hyrule Castle. Cia decides to trick Lana by bribing Ciela with sweets to say that she was the fairy who brought Link to the temple at the behest of the Great Fairy of Time and/or the Great Deku Tree. The next day, Ciela reveals to Cia that she actually was the fairy that brought Link to the temple. When Cia asks why she didn't say anything, Ciela responds that she was the one who made the offer (Ciela is a big fan of Cia's sweets).
  • Rise of Paonne and Renard Rouge: In Chapter 21, it's revealed there used to be a real Volpina in the past but Vixx never told Nathaniel before because he didn't ask.
  • Rise of the Minisukas: When Shiki demands to know why Leader never mentioned a blue-haired, red-eyed, mentally-unstable Minisuka, Leader dodges the question by pointing out that Shiki would know about it if she even attended the group's meetings.
    "Leader." Oh, right. Leader turned to look at a glaring Shiki. "You wanna explain about how that Ayanami-type-like us never came up?" Her tone indicated that she would be receiving an answer, or else.
    "In my defense, you never come to any of the meetings, so you really aren't up to date on all the going ons."
  • Ruby Pair: In "Welcome to Urth", this trope is Zim's justification for why he didn't warn Tenn about the acidic effect that Earth's polluted water has on Irkens. Later, the Computer uses the same justification for not warning him sooner that Dib was breaking into the base.
  • The Miraculous Ladybug fic Satisfaction Brought It Back has a subplot involving Marinette being extorted by Adrien's former boss Marcel Dubois who wants him to come back to work. She keeps this from Adrien for months despite the damage to her business, not wanting him to sacrifice himself by returning to a job he hated and doesn't need. When Adrien does find out, he and Alya immediately start planning to get Dubois fired, and when Marinette raises her previous concern with Chloe and Nino, they tell her how badly she misjudged Adrien:
    Chloe: Marcel might have been able to pull Adrien back in if he had made it look like the company was floundering without him or fed him another line where it put the burden of the company back on his shoulders. In fact, he could have still triggered the Agreste Self-Sacrifice Switch if he hadn’t jumped the gun and threatened you first. The minute that happened, not only would Adrien have not gone back, but he would have probably kickstarted this whole plan to put Monsieur Dubois out on his fat wrinkly ass all the sooner.
    Marinette: Seriously?
    Nathaniel: Marcel crossed a line. After he did that, his fate was sealed.
    Nino: Hate to say it, but that definitely tracks. As dumb as this whole plan is, it probably would have shook out the same way if had you just told him back in February.
    Marinette: Well, gee whiz, that makes me feel super! Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?! [Beat] Oh… yeah, I would have had to tell you first, right?
  • A Small Crime: Siv seemed to have neglected to tell Kit about their amazing healing abilities.
  • Son of the Sannin: Kakashi willingly shows his face when Fu asks him. According to him, many people including his own teammates have tried to remove his mask by force or otherwise set up ambushes or schemes to see him unmasked, yet nobody even thought of just politely ask him to let them see his face.
  • In Trixie At The Royal Wedding, it apparently didn't occur to Pinkie Pie to mention that she was an ordained minister when her friends asked her to pretend to be one.
  • At the start of ''Vinyl and Octavia Engage in Roleplay'', it's briefly revealed that Octavia has gone to university. She says that she never mentioned it because it didn't come up.
  • X-Men 1970: A terrorist demands to know why Cyclops didn't tell them about his partner sneaking in the building. Cyclops' answer is, of course, predictable:
    There were two sets of footsteps. Cyclops turned in their direction. So did most of the others, including several hostages.
    Marvel Girl was walking in front of the guard Carter had sent to find her. He had his gun pointed at her back.
    Carter spoke into the phone. "Hold it, something's come up. Be back in a moment." He hung the phone up and looked at Cyclops. "You didn't tell us about her."
    <Scott, are you reading me?>, sent Marvel Girl.
    <Acknowledged,> thought Cyke. Then, aloud, he said, "You didn't ask."
  • In The Awakening of a Magus, Voldemort is very displeased with Lucius after learning that Snape is not only alive after his remote execution attemp, but also teaches his son, Draco. Lucius' only justification is he didn't think to ask. In reality, Draco was fully aware from the start Voldemort believed Snape to be dead, and simply chose to keep silent.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars, Wittgenstein the supercomputer offers a completely ludicrous method through which space travel (not to mention easy air travel and safe permeation of Earth's atmosphere) can apparently be achieved, and Radio says "So why isn't anyone else down there?" to which Wittgenstein replies, "Because no one ever asked me to get them there!"
  • Ne Zha: After Ne Zha chokes down the water demon's snot, the only antidote to his petrification attack, he asks how he's supposed to use it on Ao Bing and the little girl, since their mouths are already petrified. The water demon cheerfully explains that it can just be applied to the skin, and when a disgusted Ne Zha asks why he didn't mention that earlier the demon says that Ne Zha didn't ask. The next shot shows him with a noticeable black eye.
  • The Princess and the Goblin: Irene and her new boyfriend Curdie play this trope almost word-for-word. After narrowly escaping the tunnels full of evil goblins, Irene wants to kiss Curdie to thank him for saving her life, but they are interrupted when Irene's caretaker, Lootie, starts calling after her, which reveals to Curdie that Irene is a princess — she hadn't though to say and he hadn't thought to ask.
    Lootie: (hollering insistently from the castle grounds) Princess Irene!
    Curdie: "Princess?!" You didn't tell me you were a princess!
    Irene: You didn't ask.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Appointment with Venus: When Major Mooreland discovers that Nicola is the sister of the Suzerain, the hereditary ruler of Armorel, he asks why she hadn't told him earlier. She replies "I thought you already knew".
  • Happens twice in The Avengers (1998).
    • Mrs. Peel: Do you always obey orders?
      Steed: Always. Except when I don't. For example, if I were, perish the thought, under orders to kill you...
      Mrs. Peel: Pity you never told me.
      Steed: You never asked.
    • Colonel Jones: As I recall, there was some former Ministry land used as a secret military installation and sold by us to Sir August years ago. And authorized by Father. And this is the site.
      Steed: But where is it?
      Colonel Jones: According to your map, it's an island right here in the middle of London. It must be where he's controlling the weather.
      Steed: Why did you never tell anyone?
      Colonel Jones: Nobody ever asked.
      • This second one is justified by the fact that Colonel Jones was handed a dead-end sideways posting after suffering a life-changing injury that limited his ability to undertake fieldwork, and is implied to be somewhat bitter about this. Especially since you'd think a man afflicted with permanent invisibility could have been found something meaningful to do for an intelligence agency.
  • Reversed in Batman (1989), when pre-Joker Jack is preening himself in the mirror:
    Alicia Hunt: You look fine.
    Jack Napier: I didn't ask.
  • In Laurel and Hardy's Block Heads, Ollie reunites with old war buddy Stanley, who is sitting in a chair in a way that makes him look like he'd lost a leg. Putting on a cheerful front, Ollie offers to take Stanley home, even carrying him quite a while under great strain. After a couple of spills, and only after Stanley helps him up, Ollie growls "Why didn't you tell me you had two legs?" And, you know...
  • Born Free: There's this exchange between George and Joy Adamson when the former brings the orphaned cubs home:
    George: Not very good-tempered, are they?
    Joy: Well, neither are you, when you're hungry. I don't suppose you've fed them?
    George: No, I can't say I have. You didn't pack any lion's milk for me before I left.
    Joy: You didn't ask me.
  • In the live-action Death Note movie, this is Ryuk's explanation for why he hadn't told Light why, if you have a Death Note, your lifespan is hidden from a human who has traded for Shinigami-sight (which allowed Misa to discover who he is). In the manga and anime, he says he didn't know.
  • In The Elephant Man, Treves assumes and even hopes that John Merrick is an idiot. (If he is an idiot, it means he won't realize just how unlucky he is.) Merrick surprises Treves when it's revealed that he can read and recite an entire passage from Psalms from memory. When Treves asks him why he didn't tell him he could read his answer is, "You didn't ask."
  • Inverted in The Evil That Men Do. Holland phones the Big Bad to demand a ransom for his kidnapped sister. After the conversation ends, Holland hangs up and tells the woman with him that they need to clear out of the house right now.
    Holland: He knows where we are.
    Rhiana: How do you know?
    Holland: He didn't ask.
  • Fat Albert At the mall, Fat Albert tries on a whole bunch of clothing, but he states to the clerk that he's broke. The clerk angrily collects all the clothing back.
    Clerk: That'll be $10,428.22.
    Fat Albert: Uh, I...I don't have any money.
    Clerk: WHAT?! Why didn't you tell me that?!
    Fat Albert: You didn't ask.
    (The clerk grabs back all the clothes in a huff)
  • In A Few Good Men, Kaffee and Galloway arrive at the possibility that the Code Red that resulted in Santiago's death and Pvt. Downey and Cpl. Dawson's incrimination was ordered by their lieutenant, Kendrick. Kaffee goes to meet them both to ask them if that's the case and they both confirm. Kaffee asks them why they didn't tell him before, to which Dawson replies, "You didn't ask us, sir." Kaffee is less than pleased.
  • In The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, a subplot involves taking a rich man's lazy stoner son with him on the voyage, basically to just get him out of the house.
    Haroun: Dangerous? Dangerous?! You never told me it would be dangerous!
    Sinbad: You didn't ask.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: After Mantis and Nebula are unable to communicate with the children held prisoner by The High Evolutionary (and Nebula's shouting at them just causes them to cry hysterically), Drax is able to calm the children down by doing his impression of a monkey, and then is able to tell the children in their language to go to a safe place.
    Nebula: Why didn't you say you could speak their language?
    Drax: Why didn't you ask?
  • In the Don Knotts film How to Frame a Figg!, Figg learns that the computer with the evidence that would clear him had been buried at the local cemetery. After digging it up, Figg and his sidekick try to buy enough extension cords to plug it into the nearest outlet... which is about a half-mile away. They wind up jury-rigging a whole bunch of cords together (including a mixer and a neon sign) and get within three feet. That's when Figg notices an outlet sticking up out of the lawn... about six feet from the grave. The sidekick, of course, knew it was there all along. Why didn't he speak up? GUESS.
  • In The Karate Kid (1984), Daniel is more than a little surprised to learn that it was the old handy-man, Mr. Miyagi, who had saved him from the five-on-one Kobra Kai massacre.
    Daniel: Why didn't you tell me?
    Mr. Miyagi: Tell you what?
    Daniel: That you knew karate.
    Mr. Miyagi: You never ask.
  • In Labyrinth, one of the hurdles that Sarah has to overcome is knowing not only to ask, but how to ask to get any useful information; early in the film, when she laments that it's useless to ask Hoggle anything, he retorts, "Not if you ask the right questions!" It takes a while for the lesson to sink in properly.
  • In The Lord of the Rings when Frodo and Sam hook up with Gollum to guide them, Frodo asks Gollum to "take us to the Black Gate" of Mordor, which he does. They see how massive and impenetrable the entrance is, and when they are about to make a charge for it anyway, Gollum pulls them back and tells them there is another way in. Sam asks why he didn't mention this before. Well... you didn't ask... (See below under literature for more.)
  • Two in a row in The Princess Bride; although Westley did ask, this trope is referenced in the dialogue:
    Westley: Why didn't you list [the wheelbarrow] amongst our assets in the first place?
  • In Reservoir Dogs, this is Mr. Blond's response to why he didn't mention earlier that he has spoken to Nice Guy Eddie. Mr. White deadpans, "Hardy fuckin' har."
  • A particularly sinister example comes from cult classic Return to Oz. The Nome King has transformed the Scarecrow into an ornament for his palace, and offers Dorothy and her friends the chance to play a guessing game to change him back. Of course, the penalty for losing the guessing game is to be transformed into an ornament yourself, which the Faux Affably Evil Nome King didn't even mention (although he does say that they risk something) until the first member of their party lost. When called on it, he gives them a reasonable second option they can take instead of the guessing game.
    Dorothy: But you didn't tell us about it!
    The Nome King: You didn't ask. Perhaps you'd like to visit my fiery furnace!
  • In Rush Hour, Jackie Chan's character is Obfuscating Stupidity by pretending to not understand English. A few minutes, a chase scene, and a held-at-gunpoint later, he demonstrates that he does speak English.
    Detective James Carter: All of a sudden you're speaking English now, huh?
    Chief Inspector Lee: A little.
    Detective James Carter: "A little," my ass. You lied to me.
    Chief Inspector Lee: I never told you I didn't. You assumed I didn't.
  • Shrooms: When Holly attempts to use Bernie and Ernie's phone and finds that it doesn't work:
    Holly: You said you had a phone.
    Ernie: You asked did we have a phone. You never asked did it work.
  • Also done in Some Kind of Wonderful at the end when Watts, the tomboy, finally gets with Keith. When he asks "Why didn't you say anything?" to Watts, she answered "You never asked."
  • In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, this is more-or-less Spock's excuse for never mentioning he had a dangerously insane brother running around the galaxy.
  • In the first Taxi movie, Daniel and Emilien are observing Krüger's workshop and waiting for it to close. After a few hours, Daniel mentions that Krüger has insomnia and his workshop is open 24 hours a day. Emilien asks why he didn't mention this earlier, and Daniel replies that he didn't ask.
  • San Te of The Thirty Sixth Chamber Of Shaolin spends an entire year at the Shaolin temple doing menial chores and waiting for his Kung-Fu training to begin. When he brings it up with the abbot, he informs him all he had to do was ask to be trained. After all, they didn't know he came specifically to seek it out.
  • In The Toy, Jack and bratty kid Eric are trying to break into Eric's father's printing press, when Eric casually mentions that he has the key. Jack asks Eric why he never told him he had the key and gets the stock answer, which Jack doesn't find particularly amusing.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: After Roger handcuffs Eddie, Eddie informs him that he lost the key to the cuffs. Later, Eddie is sawing the cuffs and the tables rocks. Roger slips out of the cuffs to steady it. When Eddie realizes, Roger quickly puts his back on.
    Eddie Valiant: You mean you could've taken your hand outta that cuff at any time?!?
    Roger: No, not any time. Only when it was funny!

  • A married couple is arguing, and right out of the blue the wife yells that the husband doesn't say "I love you" anymore. The husband is completely stunned by this and replies, in that tone people get when they have to explain things to very slow children, "I told you that when I married you. If I change my mind, I'll let you know."
  • Less "joke" than "morality tale," but one old story talks about a teenager from a wealthy family who expects a car as a graduation present, as is the tradition with rich people in his town. On graduation night, his parents present him with a book instead; he's so angry that he storms out the house and refuses to speak to them for years. When he finally comes back decades later — usually because one or both of the parents have died — he finds the book sitting on his table, untouched. He opens it...and discovers either a check for the exact amount of money for his dream car or the title of ownership for it. Since he never bothered to ask why his parents gave him another gift and was an Ungrateful Bastard instead, he lost everything. A variation (which goes heavier on the Glurge factor) has the present be a Bible instead, with the moral of opening your heart to Jesus and His word to discover salvation.
  • Jokes about cowboys who, being rugged manly men, are taciturn to a (comedic) fault.
    - Bill, what did you give your horse when she had cramps?
    - Turpentine.
    (some time later)
    - Bill, I gave my horse turpentine for her cramps, and she died.
    - Yep, same thing happened to mine.

  • The Alice Network: Charlie asks Finn why he didn’t tell her that Eve often says the name “René” when she’s in her moods, given that this could be useful to Charlie, and he tells her that he works for Eve, not her.
  • In the Anne of Green Gables novel, Anne of Avonlea, Gilbert Blythe publishes a bunch of "notes" in a local newspaper, heavily implied to all be deliberate and amusing falsehoods. One implies that a neighbor, Mr. Harrison, is engaged. Mr. Harrison's very indignant wife shows up as soon as she reads this. Anne points out that none of this would have happened if he hadn't pretended to be unmarried.
    Mr. Harrison: If anybody’d have asked me if I was married I’d have said I was.
  • In the Ascendance Series, Sage tries to use this to defend himself when Amarinda confronts him about not telling her that he was Jaron. She is NOT mollified.
  • Books of the Raksura: Moon was Raised by Humans before rejoining a Raksuran court, so every now and then, the Raksura realize there's some blindingly obvious element of their society or biology that he didn't actually know about. Played for Drama when he spends the third book afraid that he's sterile; meanwhile, his Queen knows from his scent that it's not true and doesn't realize he ever believed it to be.
  • In Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain series:
    • Protagonist Taran encounters talkative young redhead Eilonwy in the first book, and she introduces herself as "Eilonwy daughter of Angharad daughter of Regat daughter of...oh, I never can remember all that." It's not until the very end of the book that Taran (and the reader) learns from resident Ancient Keeper Dallben that Eilonwy is, in fact, a princess. Although this knowledge would not have had too great an effect on the plot of the first book had it been known, it does have direct bearing on the plots of the third, fourth, and fifth books. (Note that this applies only to the book; in The Film of the Book she introduces herself to Taran, and anyone else she meets, as Princess Eilonwy.)
    • Earlier in The Book of Three, King Eiddileg neglects to mention that he'd intercepted Hen Wen and was even then holding her in his kingdom. After going on a Fantastic Racism rant about humans and their kind. When the heroes call him out, this is the only response he has. Nobody buys it. Even Consummate Liar Fflewddur is disgusted.
  • Cradle Series: Eithan is an Eccentric Mentor with a Mysterious Past. When he makes one Cryptic Background Reference too many, Lindon grumbles that he's eventually going to force Eithan to explain himself. Eithan just smiles broadly and points out that Lindon never actually asked about his past. There's a long pause as Lindon realizes that this is true — he's never even implied he wanted to know about Eithan's past. While they get interrupted at that moment and there isn't a good chance to talk for quite a while after, when Lindon does get a chance to pin him down, he explains the broad strokes without reservation.
  • In Croak, this is Pip's answer when Lex finds out about his climbing ability. She tells him that not everything has to be learned by asking.
  • In Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen books, Captain David Kaufman is US Army Air Corps pilot. He ends up getting captured by the Grik and is forced to watch as the other prisoners are being cooked and eaten one by one. Then the Japanese show up, and the Grik hand him over to their new allies. Naturally, the Japanese have no intention of treating Kaufman as their enemies would a POW (a true warrior doesn't get captured). The Japanese Number Two Sato Okado is the only one who treats Kaufman with any kind of respect (he recognizes that Kaufman didn't let himself be captured but was merely overwhelmed by the Grik). By that point, Kaufman is on the verge of insanity and has told his captors all they asked. Later, an American plane is sighted spying on the Grik-Japanese forces. Captain Hisashi Kurokawa orders his XO to question Kaufman about it and punish him if the prisoner withheld information. Kaufman admits he knew about the plane but thought it lost. When asked why he didn't mention it before, he answers with this trope.
  • This is a running problem in Differently Morphous. The Fluidics know a lot of important information their human friends are not aware of, but thanks to a near pathological aversion to "causing a fuss", they hate to volunteer anything. One of the biggest is that everybody knows they came to England as refugees, but with all the fallout from the Broken Masquerade nobody thought to ask what they were seeking refuge from.
  • Subverted in the Discworld book Interesting Times: Rincewind meets Twoflower, a character he last met in the book The Light Fantastic. Twoflower talks about having a daughter, much to Rincewind's surprise, as they had spent a good length of time together without him ever mentioning it, despite Twoflower's insistence that he "MUST have done".
    • Justified, His wife was killed by the main villain of the story when he destroyed the village where they lived, so Twoflower probably just tries to forget. Maybe he even left to travel the world to forget..
    • In Night Watch Discworld all of the survivors of a particular battle decades before wear a lilac flower in memorial on the anniversery. When it comes out that another character who they know well was also there anonymously he remarks that he'd been participating in the tradition the whole time and they never asked why.
  • In Divine Misfortune, it isn't until they agree to let Lucky into their lives do Phil and Teri find out that he has a Stalker with a Crush (his ex-girlfriend, the Goddess of Heartbreak) and a God of Chaos and Evil who has vowed to torture and kill everyone who ever makes contact with him, especially his followers. He insists that they don't have to worry about it and that he has it handled, but that doesn't necessarily make it all better.
  • Done in a particularly bastardly way by — who else — the Master in the Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel Face of the Enemy. Gee, Master, it would've been awfully nice if you'd've told the suicidal man (who just told you he had nightmares about women he loved dying in car wrecks) that the woman who died in the fiery burning car wreck wasn't really his wife. When Ian found out, the Master justified himself by claiming that angry-and-grieving-Ian was in a more useful frame of mind for taking on the enemy. Ian was rather justifiably annoyed by this, but then one should never trust the Master in the first place.
  • In Doom, the squad crosses the LAX parking lot planning on hijacking a plane. They briefly discuss who will pilot it and none of the Marines can. They hijack the plane, with enemies trying to get in the cockpit, and then bring up the pilot question again. Jill volunteers and, when asked why she didn't speak up before, replies, "You didn't ask."
  • A variant appears in Dragonflight, the original Dragonriders of Pern novel. Lessa has the ability to speak to any dragon, not just her own Ramoth. She doesn't mention it to anyone because she has no idea that this is unusual until F'lar, her weyrmate, peevishly mentions a long-dead queen rider with the same gift. When Lessa tells him she can do it, he demands to know why she never told him — to which she rather scathingly points out that he never tells her anything, so how was she supposed to know it was important? If he had ever bothered to mention that being able to speak to all dragons was a rare gift, she would have told him sooner!
  • Earth's Children:
    • Due to the way the Clan communicate, Iza Cannot Tell a when Ayla runs off with her allegedly deformed newborn son, intending to hide out in a cave for seven days until Brun is forced to accept him, Iza protects them by simply not mentioning where exactly Ayla has gone or what she's doing, and actively tries to avoid the subject. Unfortunately, Creb eventually figures something is up and asks her outright, forcing her to come clean and invoking this trope in the process.
    • In The Shelters of Stone, Willomar casually reveals he never believed the Clan were just animals, as he’d encountered them so many times he realized they were sapient. When everyone asks him why he never mentioned this, he says it never really came up.
  • Emperor Mollusk versus The Sinister Brain: When Mollusk finds out that Serket let the Brain take a few drops of the Fountain of Youth for his peculiar intelligence, Mollusk asks why she never let him have any if that was all it takes. She implies that she would have if he had asked.
  • In Eragon, while Brom and Eragon are looking for Jeod's house, they meet Angela the Herbalist. Brom politely asks her "Could you tell us which house Jeod lives in", to which she replies "I could", then he asks her "Will you tell us?", and she answers "Yes", until he finally asks her directly and gets the answer.
  • In the Richard North Patterson book Eyes of a Child, Terri Peralta is testifying at the trial of her boyfriend Chris Paget, who is accused of murdering Terri's ex-husband Ricardo Arias. The main physical evidence against Chris is that, despite the fact that he claimed he'd never been to Ricardo's apartment, carpet fibers from the apartment were found in his house and car (which could be explained by Terri visiting Chris after dropping off her daughter with Ricardo), and his fingerprints were on Ricardo's answering machine. During her testimony, Terri explains the answering machine used to belong to her, and she believed that Chris had touched before she gave it to Ricardo. The prosecutor accuses Terri of making the story up, and wants to know if it was true, why she hadn't come forward with this evidence sooner. Terri says that it's because no one asked her or told her precisely what the evidence against Chris was; if anyone asked her about the fingerprints on the answering machine, she would have explained how they got there.
  • The Hands of the Emperor: This is why Cliopher never really told his family about his position as the chief of the imperial bureaucracy or his boss - they didn't ask (at least not insistent enough), and he considered telling them without being asked as boasting.
  • This gets Played for Laughs and Played for Drama at the exact same time in the Heralds of Valdemar series. In Winds of Change, Elspeth is in mage training with the Tayledras when her Companion, Gwena, reveals out of nowhere that she's also a mage. Cue an absolutely withering lecture from Elspeth about hiding things; a deserved one too considering that Gwena had been trying to herd Elspeth towards a Glorious Destiny for two complete novels.
  • Used quite often in J.D. Robb's In Death series about Roarke, Eve's billionaire husband, who went from Rags to Riches with roots in criminal activity:
    • The first time this happened, when Roarke casually picked a set of locks.
      Eve: You never told me you could do that.
      Roarke: You never asked.
      Eve: Remind me to ask, and ask a lot.
    • In "Naked in Death", Roarke mentions that DeBlass used to buy guns from the black market. When Eve asks why he didn't tell her before, he says she didn't ask.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, when Frodo and Sam hook up with Gollum to guide them, Frodo asks Gollum to "take us to the Black Gate" of Mordor, which he does. They see how massive and impenetrable the entrance is, and when they are about to make a charge for it anyway, Gollum pulls them back and tells them there is another way in. Sam asks why he didn't mention this before. Well... you didn't ask...
    • A variation shows up at another point: after Pippin looks into the palantir and ends up face-to-face with Sauron himself, Gandalf comments that the entire reason that he didn't doom them all by telling everything he knew was simply that the Dark Lord didn't ask him.
  • In Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey: Thrones, Dominations (finished by Jill Paton Walsh) a secondary character does (indirectly) tell the police about his illicit alibi for a murder. However, he completely fails to mention that he visited the victim that afternoon (well, before she was last seen alive) and gave her a gift that then allowed the REAL murderer to establish an alibi.
    • During the climactic trial scene in the earlier novel Clouds of Witnesses, the butler gives evidence of delivering a letter to the dead man the night of his death. When the Prosecuting attorney demands to know why he never mentioned this before, the answer is, not only was he not asked but he was specifically told to confine his answers to the questions.
  • Played horribly straight in The Lost Fleet. A character was involved in a monstrous secret project, and for security reasons, was conditioned to be unable to talk about it (or about the conditioning); this is gradually driving him insane. Fleet regulations require that he be allowed to speak of it to a fleet admiral, but only if the admiral orders him to speak, in a secure environment (with no other witnesses or recording devices). And since he can't talk about his problem, the odds that a fleet admiral would ask him about it are very slight. note 
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Magician's Nephew, while on a quest to get the Forbidden Fruit-allegory, the main characters lament that they have nothing to eat. One of them wonders why averted-Crystal Dragon Jesus Aslan (who actually is Jesus, literally) didn't think to give them any food. The other replies that he probably did think of it, but "likes being asked." (A belief supported in the Christian religion by scripture.)
  • In the book Blood Bound in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, Mercy is trying to find out where Adam and Samuel went to look for the demon-vampire's lair after they went missing and Warren was left for dead. When talking with Darryl if Warren said where they were looking, Kyle, a human, states that Samuel had received a phone call right before they left the night they disappeared. In this case it was a matter that the werewolf's Fantastic Racism overlooked Kyle because he was human, Darryl didn't ask Kyle and never gave Kyle a chance to tell him when Kyle tried to bring it up.
  • Minor occurrence in Mistborn with the Kandra OreSeur, when he doesn't tell Vin about a letter he knows is of interest to her. In this case, it's simple passive-aggressiveness; he's required to follow her orders, not to be helpful. Plus he's ticked off about his broken legs.
  • In Murder on the Orient Express, this is the reason that the owner of the handkerchief found at the crime scene didn't admit to it; no one told her about it or asked it if it was hers. As soon as she does find out (or at least can admit she knows about it), she tells the detectives right away.
  • In Larry Niven's short story The Patchwork Girl, the accused murderer refuses to reveal why she couldn't possibly have committed the murder due to a misunderstanding of the way the law works on the Moon vs how it works on Earth. She was visiting her clone at a cloning clinic. On Earth, she would have been condemned to the organ banks for having a clone made after using one of her birthrights (having a child takes two birthrights, one from each parent) and the clone would have been sterilized. On the Moon, she probably would have been sterilized and the clone would have been left alone.
  • Used directly in Jack Vance's Planet of Adventure series. Anacho has spent the first two books assuming that Adam Reith is crazy because he claims to have come from some other planet called "Earth". Until Traz mentions that he saw Reith's space boat.
  • In "Philbert the Fearful," from Jay Williams's The Practical Princess and Other Liberating Fairy Tales, the title character and three other knights went off to rescue the emperor's daughter from Brasilgore the Enchanter. Somewhere along the way, they rescued a girl named Victoria from a castle guarded by a giant. She was, of course, later revealed to be the emperor's daughter. When Philbert asked why she didn't happen to mention that Brasilgore the Enchanter was a giant she said "You didn't ask me."
  • Said word-for-word in Laurence Yep's short story "The Rainbow People" after the flute player frees the rainbow people from slavery and it turns out that they were transformed dragons.
  • In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Marvin reveals in passing that he could see The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything — for which the characters had been searching for some time — imprinted on Arthur Dent's brainwave patterns. His response to why he never mentioned it...
  • In the Starfleet Corps of Engineers story Some Assembly Required, this is the Keorgans' response when Carol Abramowitz and Bart Faulwell demand to know why the danger facing the Keorgan capital wasn't explained in the report they were sent before arriving.
  • Used in the Star Trek Expanded Universe novel Imzadi. The Guardian of Forever doesn't tell anyone that the timeline in which Troi dies is the modified one, and that she lived in the original one. Thus, attempts at changing or maintaining the timeline are actually having the opposite effects. When the characters realize this and ask the Guardian why it didn't tell them, it literally says, "You did not ask." In fairness, it was established in the original episode that the Guardian has A Thing about answering questions.
  • Tangerine: Lake Windsor has a pond of koi (a beautiful type of fish). Paul knew that the fish were being eaten by local wild birds (ospreys), but didn't tell anyone until the general meeting in his house. When asked why he never said anything earlier, his answer is "No one ever asked me".
  • Breaking Dawn: Edward knew all along that Jacob and the other wolves are no actual werewolves, but shape shifters.
    Bella: And you never mentioned this because...?
    Edward: It never came up.
  • Used deliberately against one of the villains in Roadmarks. The retired Killer Robot Mondamay is placed under a compulsion to obey the villain's orders; the villain's plan fails due to a fact Mondamay knew all along but chose not to volunteer; the villain asks why he didn't warn him, and Mondamay replies, with exact truth, "You never asked me."
  • In Isaac Asimov's short story "Victory Unintentional", a trio of robots is sent to Jupiter, which is inhabited by a xenophobic race that has announced its intention to exterminate humanity as soon as they build spaceships capable of leaving Jupiter and holding Jovian atmosphere. The Jovians make several unsuccessful attempts to destroy the visitors, and finally deign to talk to them in a very arrogant tone, revealing that they are close to their goal. Suddenly, the Jovians do a total about-face, groveling and pleading for peace and friendship with humans. As they leave, one of the robots realizes that they never asked whether their super-strong and indestructible visitors were the "humans" they'd planned to fight....
  • In Lisa Goldstein's Walking the Labyrinth, the protagonist sees the attic and says no one ever told her about the it. Alex replies, "Callan would say that you have to know the right question to ask. Though I don't think you'll find anything very interesting there."
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 Gaunt's Ghosts novel Straight Silver, Mkoll devotes most of his attention to one of the soldiers he is training as a scout, to the frustration of another aspiring scout, who believes Mkoll is ignoring her because she's A) not from Tanith, and B) a woman. When she finally asks Mkoll about it, he says that he was the one that needed more training; she was ready.
  • Whateley Universe: Of the mystical "You must ask" type, in "Dissonance (Part 1)", where it would have averted a unfortunate situation:
    Nobody asked me why I didn't want to do it or I could have told them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Bewitched epiode "Samantha's Shopping Spree," Samantha's puckish Cousin Henry transforms an insistent salesman into a mannequin during a trip to a department store with Sam, Endora, and Tabitha. Henry refuses to undo the spell, and neither Samantha nor Endora can lift it themselves. They lament that no one saw precisely what charm Henry which point Tabitha chimes in that she did. When asked why she didn't speak up sooner, she replies "Nobody asked me." The curse is quickly undone, and order restored.
  • Blake's 7. Avon gives this trope in "Redemption", smugly pointing out that it will teach the others to ask questions in future instead of blindly following Blake's orders.
  • In one episode of Dad's Army, the platoon has to help a farmer's widow to gather in the harvest. Mainwaring assumes that Sponge, who is a farmer, knows how to operate a threshing machine; and asks him to demonstrate. Sponge responds that he is a sheep farmer and has never had to use one. When Mainwaring tersely asks why Sponge never said so before, Sponge uses this line.
  • Daredevil (2015): A variant happens in "Penny and Dime". Matt is getting dressed for Grotto's funeral when Karen shows up. She quickly jumps in and puts Matt's tie on, explaining that she learned by tying her brother's ties. Matt notes that she's never mentioned a brother, and she counters that he never asked. It later gets revealed that she was responsible for his death, which would explain why she doesn't jump at opportunities to talk about him.
  • In an episode of A Different World, Terrell is accused of putting a paper sign on Charmaine's back that reads "digit ho" in math class. A student hearing (in a "mock trial" style) leads to the revelation that another student had done it out of romantic rivalry (not even involving Terrell). When Freddie, acting as his defense counsel, asks why he never mentioned he was innocent, his answer was that it was the only thing nobody asked, assuming he was guilty purely on his "gangsta" aesthetics.note 
  • One episode of Dinosaurs saw Robbie with a crush on his cute classmate Caroline. He wants to ask her to an upcoming dance, but a Jerk Jock gets there first. Convinced that she only likes the jock because of his strong build, Robbie starts eating "Thoronoids", angry, nasty creatures that instantly add a ton of muscle to his frame. Unfortunately, the Thoronoids also make him nasty and aggressive to everyone, including Caroline. When she finally confronts him for his behavior, Robbie tells him that she was clearly more interested in his rival — why else wouldn't she go with him to the dance? Caroline fires back that Robbie never bothered to ask her, leaving him humiliated.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Remembrance of the Daleks":
      The Doctor: Ace, give me some of that Nitro-9 you're not carrying!
    • In "Rise of the Cybermen", Rose's response when the Doctor asks why he's only just hearing about Mickey's family history. He points out that she never said, leading her to admit they've been taking him for granted, which is why they don't protest at the end of the second part of this episode when Mickey decides he's going to stay in Pete's World to help Jake Simmonds take down the rest of the Cybermen.
  • Full House:
    • An early Running Gag consists of Stephanie knowing information that her dad, uncle, or Joey needed to know earlier. When asked why she didn't reveal this news sooner, she would respond, "Nobody asked me."
    • Early in the episode "Room for One More?", Danny praises Stephanie and Michelle for taking their responsibility seriously with taking care of "Scruffy", which belongs to a neighbor. Danny assumes that it's a dog, only for Michelle to enter with the pet in question — a warthog.
    Danny: T-That's a pig. You didn't tell me Scruffy was a pig.
    Michelle: Well, you didn't ask.
  • In Get Smart, Max learns that Agent 99 has introduced herself to another man as "Susan Hilton". He jealously points out that she's worked with him for years and never told him. It's rare for 99 to say the punchline, but this was one such occasion. It turned out to be a mere code name.
  • On Girls, this is Adam's response when Hannah asks why he never told her about his problems with alcohol as a teenager. Naturally, this answers makes Hannah angry, but Adam angrily shoots back that it's not that she didn't ask about his alcoholism; it's that she never asks, about anything.
  • On Greek, the exchange went something like this:
    Character A: Why didn't you tell me you were an all-state hockey player?
    Character B: You didn't ask.
  • In the Homicide: Life on the Street episode "In Search of Crimes Past", Bolander discovers that the reason that the wrong man was jailed 16 years ago was because he didn't ask whether the victim was having an affair with the true killer's wife. He later wonders how many other cases he might have unknowingly stuffed up because he failed to ask the right question.
  • In "The Town's Inn, Part 1" from Hotel Hell, Gordon Ramsay is pointing out to the innkeeper, Karan, the insanity of the idea of there being her personal wardrobe in his room. She says that the wardrobe is locked and he doesn't have to deal with it and he tells her "But you didn't tell me that when you took my money," getting him this response.
  • Just about every episode of House features this trope, as the patient of the week and their relatives fail to provide crucial medical details and end up being misdiagnosed.
    • In one episode, the team asks a vet so many questions that they have medical and non-medical histories going back to the patient's great-grandparents, leaving the patient with literally no excuse for not mentioning he once had an issue with nosebleeds and had his nostrils cauterized; which, of course, was the clue they needed. "Didn't ask", indeed.
    • Also subverted in another episode where they're sure it's something but the patient continually insists that he's never been anywhere tropical, ruling it out. Finally House gets mad enough to where the guy defensively yells "I've never been south of Florida!" only to meet the team's glares and then weakly ask "That counts?". Apparently no one had ever defined "tropical" enough for him to know.
  • A variation occurs in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit where a rape victim refuses to give the detectives the identity of her rapist, with the statute of limitations ticking, because she's sure he's no longer a threat. When they find him, they discover he'd been involved in an accident and was paralyzed from the waist down, thus no longer a threat. If she'd told them that, they likely wouldn't have jailed her for obstruction.
  • In Lois & Clark, Jimmy tells Lois that he's going to have to look for another job since his rent was going up. Perry White hears about it and when Jimmy asks for a raise, White says Jimmy's work had been good for a while and he deserved a raise. When Jimmy asked why he hadn't gotten one, Perry tells him, "You never asked for one."
  • In Lost Girl, Lauren reveals to Kenzi (and the audience) that she spent time as a doctor in Afghanistan. note  When Kenzi asks why she never mentioned that before, Lauren replies with this. Their (to that point) mutual animosity makes it a pretty good explanation.
  • M*A*S*H: In "The Abduction of Margaret Houlihan", Cpl. Klinger's failure to inform Potter that Major Houlihan had gone to deliver a baby leads to the cast being subjected to the antics of Col. Flagg for the entire episode. Subverted in that they did ask Klinger; he was just too groggy to fully register the question and his answer — "She's having a baby" — made absolutely no sense out of context.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan: In Episode 27, Melani and The Proposal's crew stage a kidnapping of Reno's girlfriend, Dita, so that Reno could rescue her then propose to her. Dita proceeds to beat up her kidnappers, Bambang and Alan. Only then, Reno reveals to the others that Dita has a black belt in karate, saying that nobody asked before.
  • Variant: From the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch where English-Hungarian phrasebook writer Alexander Yahlt is on trial:
    Attorney: May I ask for an adjournment, m'lud?
    Judge: An adjournment? Certainly not! (loud raspberry noise emits from the attorney; he grimaces as he sits back down) Why didn't you tell me why you wanted an adjournment?
    Attorney: I didn't know an acceptable legal phrase, m'lud.
  • The then-director of NCIS asks the head of the FBI when it's revealed that the FBI had a database of fingerprints of every known terrorist. Cue trope title.
  • In The Office, Andy explains to the camera that he never told Erin he was engaged to Angela because she never asked.
  • Phoenix. In "Hair of the Dog", Sergeant Faithful has to liaison with an inspector from Homicide who keeps giving him attitude and sharing minimal information. At the end of the episode, the inspector demands to know why the Drug Squad shared crucial information on the case with Faithful and not him. As they're walking away...
    Brennan: Didn't you tell him your wife was in the Drug Squad?
    Faithful: Bastard never asked me. (both laugh)
  • On Red Dwarf, this exchange followed a self-destruct scare:
    Holly: We haven't got a bomb... I got rid of it ages ago.
    Rimmer: Why didn't you tell us?
    Holly: You never asked!
  • A notable example is also given in the Janitor's name from Scrubs. It is revealed in the final episode that J.D. had never asked, "What's your name?". It is revealed in the final episode when asked to be Glenn Matthews; however, right after this revelation another person walks by the janitor and calls him Tommy. note 
  • Sherlock: Sherlock sees through everything and everyone in seconds. What's incredible, though, is how spectacularly ignorant he is about some things. For example, in "The Hounds of Baskerville", Sherlock is confused why John is calling Inspector Lestrade "Greg". John tells him that this is Lestrade's name. The annoyed Lestrade points out that Sherlock never bothered to ask through all the years they worked together. Sherlock never bothers to learn things every schoolboy knows, such as basic astronomy (like the fact that the Earth orbits the Sun). Why? Because it has no bearing on detective work. Later in the same episode he solves a case because of his encyclopedic knowledge of historical supernovas, so he might have just been messing with Watson there.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes 1954 episode "The Case of the Careless Suffragette", Holmes reveals there was a second bomb bag, identical to the first one, involved in a murderous Satchel Switcheroo:
    Lestrade: Chen [bomb-bag weaver], why didn't you tell me this?
    Chen: You no ask me, mister. This man [Holmes], he ask me.
  • In an early episode of Stargate SG-1, Teal'c neglects to mention that the writing on an alien planet is Goa'uld. When Daniel asks why Teal'c didn't say anything sooner, Teal'c replies "You never before inquired."
  • In one of her earlier episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, Seven of Nine gets the crew out of a difficult situation with some desperate refugees by mentioning she has the knowledge to help them. When asked why she didn't volunteer this earlier she gives this answer. Justified in that she was used to working with the Borg, who share a hive mind with access to all their information, so the concept of asking is still new to her.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Riker is annoyed to discover that Dr. Pulaski was once romantically involved with his father, and she never thought to mention it. She protests, "It wasn't a secret. It just never came up."
  • Inverted in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In "Trials and Tribble-ations" Captain Sisko has to explain to a couple of humorless agents from Temporal Investigations about his jaunt back in time to the days of Star Trek: The Original Series. They conclude that minimal damage has been done, but after they leave Sisko is told that Odo wants a word.
    Odo: Did you tell them?
    Sisko: They didn't ask. I'm open to suggestions, people.
    Dax: We could build another station.
    (Reveal Shot shows the Promenade is overrun by tribbles)
  • The 1980 TV adaptation of Agatha Christie's Why Didn't They Ask Evans? (and possibly the original novel) has a rare entirely justified instance of You Never Asked. Late in the piece, the hero finally discovers that the villain is [X], and consequently that he's wasted a lot of time suspecting the wrong man. Minutes later, a friend who has been providing occasional assistance catches sight of [X] and remarks that they were at university together and [X] was already bad news then. The hero asks why, if he knew [X] was a bad lot, he didn't say so earlier and save them a lot of trouble. The friend says "You never asked", then forestalls the obvious objection by pointing out that the hero has been playing his cards so close to the chest that this is the first he even knew [X] was involved in the case.
  • Assuming the radio version of Yes, Minister is similar to the TV version...
    Bernard: Why haven't you told the Minister?
    Sir Humphrey: Because he hasn't asked.
    Bernard: But how can he ask if he doesn't know there's anything to ask about?
    • Incidentally, later Hacker does ask. Sir Humphrey goes out of his way to avoid giving a straight answer.

  • The Talmud:
    • One at least one "thought you knew that" example:
      When Rav Yosef taught this, Abaye said to him: What is the reason that until now the Master did not explain the matter to us in this way? Rav Yosef said to him: I did not know that you needed this information, as I thought that you were already familiar with the baraita. Have you ever asked me something and I did not tell you?
    • Pirkei Avot also gives us the proverb "A shy student (i.e., one who won't ask questions) cannot learn."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Paranoia: One official mission has the GM offhandedly mention that there's a bot in the middle of the briefing room. It is, in fact, a Vampire Bot 666, every bit as visibly lethal and Squicky as the name implies, but the GM is specifically instructed not to describe it in any further detail unless (a) the PCs think to ask or (b) it actually does something.

  • In Spamalot, King Arthur needs to find a Jew. After some searching, his servant Patsy reveals that he is Jewish on his mother's side. When King Arthur asks why this information wasn't revealed previously, Patsy responds with, "That's not exactly the sort of thing you say to a heavily-armed Christian."

    Video Games 
  • AI: The Somnium Files - nirvanA Initiative hides some important family relationships that somehow never came up in conversation in the span of several years.
    • Boss says she has a daughter, but she never said anything in the previous game even though she adopted the girl three years prior. When others express their surprise, she tells them they never asked.
    • Mizuki is good friends with both Shoma Enda and his older sister despite not knowing they are related. The reveal of the sister's identity takes her by surprise. It's Amame Doi, which explains her stake in the Half-Body Serial Killings.
  • Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana: After Delsus' refusal to give up the information he knows has led the party to fight a dragon, he will excuse himself with this. Subverted when the rest of the party promptly point out that they did ask. Repeatedly.
  • Baten Kaitos:
    • On discovering that Mizuti is a "Child of the Earth" (part of a race of sorcerers), the heroes question why she never said anything. Her response: "You not ask." The trick here is that she actually told them as such outright twice — they just didn't pay attention.
    • The main party accuses Savyna of being a spy. Instead of denying it, she simply says, "You only asked for my name, not who I was."
  • In Chapter 4 of Bug Fables, when Team Snakemouth gets captured by Desert Bandits and were imprisoned, Kabbu reveals that, as a beetle, he can burrow them out of cell in no time. His teammates ask him why he never used this before. Kabbu's response?
    Kabbu: We didn't really need it, did we?
    • Incidentally, Kabbu is one of the few characters on this page who can pull this off without sounding like a jerk. He's a very sincere fellow.
  • Alistair feebly tries this as justification in Dragon Age: Origins for why he didn't mention sooner that he's the bastard half-brother of the recently deceased king. You can call him out on the cop-out if you're so inclined.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, swordsman Karel asks Dart the pirate in their support conversations if he knows any strong enemies. Dart then tells him about a few he heard rumors about, only to find out they are all already dead. Then, in the final conversation, Dart remembers one more: a man named Karel, better known as the "Sword Demon", who only lives to kill and has done some pretty brutal stuff according to the stories. Karel answers that he cannot duel himself, leading to the following exchange:
      Dart: Hunh...? You're joking... No way... So you're the... You're THAT Karel?!
      Karel: I am only one Karel, but that is my name.
      Dart: Well, pucker my portside! Why didn't you say so?
      Karel: You didn't ask.
    • In Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, after the player rescues Monica from a bandit fortress, the Knights of Seiros think that the bandits who kidnapped her were the same ones who attacked the other Officers Academy students in the previous mission. While the protagonist and her rescuers discuss the situation, she decides to simply tell them who the culprit was since they're so busy speculating that they forget to ask her directly.
  • Halo. In the first game, when Master Chief finds out that the Halos destroy all life in the galaxy, and not just the Flood, he confronts 343 Guilty Spark on the matter, with Spark's reaction being "You didn't ask." Guilty Spark was legitimately confused as to why Master Chief didn't already know what the Halos did, since he was well on his way to activating them. After all, who would activate a Giant Doomsday Weapon without knowing what it did?
  • In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Tonks gives this explanation for why she didn't tell the player character that she can cast the Patronus Charm.
  • Idol Manager: In his ending, Fujimoto turns out to have invested in the idol group in part to be able to stay involved in the life of his Like a Son to Me, regardless of whether the latter liked it or not. After needing some amount of time to gain self-awareness of this fact, Fujimoto considers stepping away as a means to show more respect to his surrogate child's autonomy. The surrogate child points out that stepping away entirely on his own initiative is just as bad as imposing himself and that true respect of their autonomy entails asking for their input on the situation. Fujimoto gets a pleasant surprise when he goes ahead and asks his surrogate child how much they want him in their life.
  • Done for a laugh in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, although it does have some frustrating implications. Link's task in the second part of the game is rescuing the Seven Sages, who were magically sealed in paintings by the villain Yuga. Five of the seven didn't know about their special status. The only two who did were Impa, who did take precautions to protect herself (Yuga implies that Impa was the last Sage he captured), and Rosso, a burly mountaineer. When he's freed from his prison, he casually remarks that he's known about his Sagehood for years, but never bothered to bring it up because it seemed so unimportant; if he'd told someone beforehand, he might have been able to be kept safe. However, given that Yuga not only has teleportation powers, but can trap people so long as there's a flat surface nearby, it would have been dang near impossible to defend against him.
  • In LostMagic, you Love Interest and Mysterious Waif sidekick Trista is one of the Sages. The Rune she shoves in your hand after a tedious boss fight would have helped a lot with said boss fight.
  • In Mass Effect, while talking with Wrex about his past, he'll casually mention he's met and worked for Saren, the Big Bad. When asked why he didn't tell anyone sooner, well, you can guess what his response is. Not as egregious as some others on this list, since he genuinely doesn't have anything new to say, and didn't even realize who Saren was until he met up with you, but still...
  • Solid Snake does this multiple times (he says "you never asked") in Metal Gear Solid 2, so much it becomes a Running Gag. Details never asked about include: Snake's real identity; the fact that they're hiding a Humongous Mecha-Forgotten Superweapon-Elaborate Underground Base hybrid under the sea; and numerous lower-key pieces of information involving the personal lives of the characters. He seems to enjoy it greatly. At least Snake has a good reason not to tell Raiden his entire life story — he is a terrorist who had faked his own death.
    • Plus, Snake is probably at least partially aware that Raiden is the brainwashed minion of the Ancient Conspiracy that he is fighting against, as well as having a personal connection to Solidus.
  • NieR: Automata has a more verbose version in one of its sidequests. Asked to find medicine for a sick moose, 2B and 9S head to the commercial district in search of a recipe. When they find a book, 2B's Pod tells them it contains the cure (and even which page it's on) before they've even opened it, and reveals that the book's data, cure and all, had been in its database the whole time. When an exasperated 9S asks the Pod why it didn't say that earlier, it replies, "A request for information was not submitted."
  • Persona 5 Strikers:
    • Sophia casually reveals that she’s a powerful fighter shortly after the Phantom Thieves first meet her and that she's an AI once they return to the real world. Both times, when Skull asks why she didn't say so from the beginning, Sophia says that it's because nobody asked her.
    • Referenced again later after Wolf deals with the pain of touching a Birdcage to glean the Trauma Cell's location:
    Wolf: Yeesh, you guys coulda warned me about that.
    Panther: Well, it's not like you asked... Ahaha.
    Sophie: I feel like I've heard that excuse before...
    Skull: Yeah, from yourself.
  • In Planescape: Torment, Morte, a flying skull that accompanies you from the moment you wake up in the morgue actually served you in all your incarnations, and knows more about you than you do yourself. "You didn't ask" often comes up.
    • Morte actually has a good justification for everything, including not mentioning "Don't trust the skull" being written on your back!
  • In Poacher, when you complete the Underwater Boss Battle, Derek, who so far has been getting air from bubbles made by underwater plants, is finally about to choke, when Rebecca reveals that she can enable him to breathe underwater. She didn't do it earlier, because with her being a disembodied spirit, it didn't occur to her that regular humans need air to survive, and Derek literally couldn't ask, being unable to speak underwater until she gave him the power to do so.
  • Played for laughs in The Secret World, in which a conversation between two of the Sentinels reveals that the older of the siblings has been keeping secrets.
    Hemitneter: That's how the Atenists seized power so quickly. They took up the arms that had been left behi- hold on! You knew this all along?!
    Nefertari: Well, you didn't ask.
    Hemitneter: Wha... I don't... I...! [to Thutmose] Is this because I pushed her off the barque when we were children?
    Thutmose: Oh no, don't drag me into this.
  • In Solatorobo, several hours into the game the main hero discovers that the boy he's been travelling since the beginning is in fact a girl. She uses this trope to justify not correcting him in the first place.
  • Tales of Graces: Pascal tells the party she's an Amarcian (a race where everyone is a Gadgeteer Genius) when suggesting they go to the Amarcian Enclave. Hubert angrily asks why she didn't mention it earlier. Pascal says the trope verbatim. Hubert is the only one frustrated by this.
  • A justified version appears in Unavowed, with Melkhiresa, the knowledge demon (or rather daimon) as it is actually a limitation in its powers. A daimon might possess practically limitless knowledge and its raison d'être is to always seek out new information, but it cannot recall or divulge any of it by its own volition — it must be asked a direct question by its summoner before it can access what it knows. The Big Bad compares it to how a lexicon or a manual cannot read itself.

    Visual Novels 
  • Happens a number of times in Ace Attorney, particularly when the protagonist points out something a witness was seemingly hiding. A lot of the time this is down to the prosecution. For example, in the first game's second case:
    Phoenix: Why did you not mention this other person to the court?!
    Bellboy: didn't ask, sir...
    Phoenix: (Nice try!) That's the kind of thing you are normally supposed to mention!
    Bellboy: Y-Yes, well...It was the good barrister there, Mr. Edgeworth who...
    Phoenix: ...!
    Bellboy: He told me not to mention it unless I was specifically asked, sir.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
    • Toko Fukawa doesn't share memories with her Split Personality Genocide Jack. This fact becomes key in the final trial where it's revealed that 14 of the 16 students (the other two having orchestrated the plot) all had their memories erased of the time they spent together in school, and that the Mastermind explicitly erased those two years in order to kickstart the Deadly Game by making them want to leave without knowing that the outside world is in ruins from the Tragedy, but since Genocide Jack doesn't share memories with Toko, she does indeed remember that the world pretty much ended. If nothing else, Genocide Jack's complete insanity could explain this one away.
      Aoi: Why didn't you say anything until now?!
      Genocide Jack: I only answer questions when someone bothers to ask me! I'm the quiet type, ya know?
    • Kyoko Kirigiri has a tendency to withhold information out of pragmatic distrust/paranoia (supposedly any of the other students could be the mastermind). This trait is relatively harmless until the fifth chapter, where she reveals upon being pressed about the issue that she's had Laser-Guided Amnesia the entire game of what her talent was and didn't bring it up because she assumed no one would believe her. One wonders how much quicker they could have reached that particular plot twist if it had been established earlier that the mastermind can tamper with people's memories.
  • Kotomine gets to do this a lot in Fate/stay night. Since he Will Not Tell a Lie he finds it highly amusing to mention, for example, 'Oh yeah, I do have an ulterior motive for saving Sakura. I wanted her to eat everyone and give birth to an evil. Shirou actually tries to avoid asking for awhile because when he does Kotomine tends to make him either look like an idiot or depress him. Kotomine tends to drone on at such length on the information he will reveal that if Shirou hasn't forgotten the question, he's reluctant to ask.
  • At one point in Narcissu, the protagonist finds himself broke and unable to pay for the gas he's just filled his car with. Just as he's about to floor it and attempt to escape without paying, his normally-silent traveling companion hands him enough money to pay for the gas, and reveals that she has quite a bit more stashed away.
    Protagonist: Y-you have money on you? Why didn't you say so before?
    Setsumi: ... did you ask?
    Protagonist: Er, well, that is, I, no...
    Setsumi: That's why.
  • In Snatcher, Metal knows all about the circumstances around Gillian's discovery and revival. Gillian doesn't. Metal refuses to tell him until the beginning of Act 3, when Gillian becomes the highest ranking Junker operative following the Chief's death.
  • Done to the player in Zero Time Dilemma, regarding the existence of "Q", the fourth player on Q Team and the true identity of Zero. To the characters, it's perfectly obvious that there's an old man in a wheelchair sitting in on all of Mira, Eric, and Sean's conversations; however, because the cinematic angles are carefully positioned to exclude him, and all the prerelease used the name "Q" to refer to Sean instead of Delta, this will never occur to the player until the game is ready to reveal the twist.

    Web Animation 
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device:
    • When the Emperor tells the history of the entire universe, the first question (after the two listeners pick their jaws from the floor) is:
      Magnus: Anyway, why did you not tell anyone of this before?
      The Emperor: Because you never fucking asked, that's why. Besides, what was written down was apparently censored by those charming fucknuggets in the Inquisition.
    • Magnus knew that Rogal Dorn was still alive, though not where. When the Emperor confronted him about him knowing and not telling them, Magnus was surprised that the Emperor didn't know because he's the more powerful psyker.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • When Gary effortlessly disables a bomb about to blow up the base the cast is standing in:
      Sarge: Gary, you mean to tell us you could have disabled the bomb this whole time, and you didn't say anything? And don't say it was because I didn't—
      Gary: You didn't ask.
      Sarge: [angrish]
    • And again when Grif's sister was supposed to replace the dead Blue captain:
      Simmons: Oh my God what's wrong with you? Why didn't you tell us you were a Blue?
      Sister: Because—
      Simmons: And don't say "because nobody asked"!
      Sister: But nobody did ask!
      Simmons: Goddammit.
    • In the Season 14 episode "Get Bent", Church learns that the Female!Reds were able to renovate their base simply by asking Command for the necessary materials;
      Church: Wait... You mean we could've... All we had to do was... We just had to ask?!
  • Animated Inanimate Battle has this in episode 5 between Fireball and Apricot:
    Apricot: Science,'s my thing. I built the Pear Detector.
    Fireball: Dude! You never told me any of this!
    Apricot: You never asked...

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: In "Futures Trading", the Doctor sends a message to Dracula to ask him to use his giant moon laser to help the humans against the space dinosaurs, and he immediately complies. Naturally, the reason he didn't do this until more than a decade after the initial invasion was because they hadn't asked. They don't usually like the laser, after all, so best to wait until asked. (It is true that using it at just this time was the best way to save the day.)
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures: During the all All Hail Queen Mab story arc, it is revealed Mab has a daughter. When questioned about by Jyyras she simply responds "No one ever asked."
  • Erfworld:
    • Wanda starts to give this answer when Parson asks why she hadn't disclosed her stash of canned spells. Parson rejects the answer before she can finish it. Parson is sensible enough to make the oft-neglected point that, as her superior and battle planner, she has an obligation to volunteer pertinent information.
    • It later comes up again as part of Great Mind conspiracy planning: The level of secrecy just above "Need To Know" is designated "Need To Ask."
  • Girl Genius
  • In the Franz Scortchmaw side story, when the adventuring party is discussing how someone appears to be helping them from the shadows, Humongous blithely says "It is the ghost man. He is hiding behind that rock." As Franz glares at him, he explains "Humongous sees many things! Usually no-one wants to hear about them."
  • In Harkovast, Chen-Chen never mentions the fact she is a kung-fu master until the group get ambushed and she reveals her fighting skills.
  • Doc Scratch from Homestuck bases his whole existence around this. He claims that only he can know all the facts, and he's only saving time by not telling everybody everything. However, it's clear he has his own agenda, and he fulfills it by leading people to the wrong conclusions through Exact Words, leading up to a climactic payoff at the end of Act 5.
    Doc Scratch: If I do not volunteer information you deem critical to your fate, it possibly means that I am a scoundrel, but it does not mean that I am a liar. And it certainly means that you did not ask the right questions.
  • It's a big plot point late in Mob Psycho 100 that Tome and the Telepathy were so unmotivated to pursue the stated goal of their club that they completely failed to realize that the boy who dropped out of the club at the very beginning, Takenaka, was a telepath the whole time.
  • Narbonic: Here. Dave had a damned good reason for not wanting to mention the teleporter; it was specifically designed to provide The Alcatraz with supplies without risking escapes — it's "receive" only...
    Dave: Also, live tissue comes out as a pulpy shapeless blob of protoplasm.
    Helen: Let's do it!
    Dave: See, this is why I didn't want to tell you about the teleporter.
  • In The Order of the Stick strip "Omission Possible", this is the first reason Durkon gives for not having told the evil spirit controlling his body that the keystone to the dwarven temple would crumble to dust if someone used it without the owner's permission. The second reason is "Also, I hate ye an' I want ye ta fail."
  • In RPG World, Cherry is revealed to be an elf, after the strip had been running for several years, much to the surprise of the other characters. Mind you, her pointed ears are clearly visible in her first appearance. Though the early images are a bit inconsistent.
  • Parodied in this Yahtzee Takes on the World comic. (Yes, that Yahtzee.)
    "How the hell was I supposed to ask [whether you're really a space alien]?!!"
    "Hey, it's your culture's code of etiquette, not mine."

    Web Original 
  • The Binder Of Shame:
    "Wait a minute. Guns and katanas can't scratch these things but their necks snap like twigs?"
    "Not my fault none of you thought to do that."
  • In Noob, Sparadrap didn't bother telling anyone that getting his avatar banned then starting all over again whith a new one did not get him rid of his Clingy MacGuffin/Artifact of Doom until his guild was about to out of its way to get him a new equivalent to the item that the artifact was replacing. Justified as it was his first time interacting with his guild after several days of levelling up under his brother's wing and he was told to not mention the Clingy MacGuffin/Artifact of Doom to anyone outside his guild.
  • In the [title of show] show, the cast ask Mindy why she didn't tell them Cheyenne Jackson shot her (they had been trying to catch her killer in front of her the whole episode). She replies with this.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, guest character Mistwalker is seen as a mostly harmless Witch Doctor. She proves to be anything but and does the bulk of fighting off the Black Hole Gang armed with her knowledge of the Death World she lives on. After the gang's been chased off, she explains to the heroes that she's led them back to their ship. Audra is shocked that Mistwalker can speak their language. Mistwalker shrugs it off.
    Mistwalker: One who asks many questions. You never asked that one.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The original series:
      • In the last few episodes, Zuko becomes more and more hostile in trying to get Aang to train. Aang, not understanding, asks what his problem is, then Zuko tells him about Ozai's plan to burn the Earth Kingdom to the ground. The others want to know why he didn't mention this earlier, and Zuko responds that they didn't ask — and that he was under the assumption that the plan was to stop Ozai before the comet arrived, which would make telling them moot and just another thing to stress Aang. This is just after Zuko yells at them for not taking the impending deadline to fight the Firelord seriously. The Gaang, prove guilty of this themselves, finally mentioning that they apparently have all discussed and agreed they're actually not doing it on the timetable he thought.
    • The Legend of Korra: Played with in Book 2. After finding out Eska is insane, Bolin asks Korra why she didn't warn him that Eska "has the power to reach into my heart and crush my soul with her bare hands". Korra tells him she thought it was obvious.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Seaplane!", Bob has to track his wife to Quippiquisset Island. Mr. Fischoeder tells him a convoluted way to get a ride there while mocking the concept that everyone just has a boat. During the process, Bob spots Mr. Fischoeder... on a boat of his own.
    Bob: Why didn't you say you had a boat?!
    Mr. Fischoeder: I have a boat! There, are you happy?!
    Bob: No!
  • In A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Linus and Charlie Brown enlist Snoopy (and Woodstock) to help cook and serve the "Thanksgiving Dinner" to their friends, consisting of buttered toast, popcorn, pretzel sticks and jelly beans. Later, after Charlie and friends leave to go over his grandmother's house, Snoopy and Woodstock pull out a fully cooked traditional Thanksgiving dinner, complete with pumpkin pie dessert. Charlie or Linus never asked them if they had a dinner to serve!
  • In Class of the Titans, Atlas reveals that he knows the location of Atlantis, which the heroes were searching for, having been raised there. He points out the location after Odie discovers it, prompting Odie to ask why he didn't just tell them. Atlas simply replies, "You Never Asked."
  • An episode of Donkey Kong Country has Klump and Krusha hiding in barrels on Kaptain Skurvy's pirate ship while it sails off:
    Klump: Now when the coast is clear, we'll jump out of the barrels, steal the Crystal Coconut back, and then swim back to shore.
    Krusha: Duh, I can't swim.
    Klump: Well, why didn't ya say so before we snuck on board?!
    Krusha: Well, you never asked.
  • Fenton in DuckTales (1987) never dared ask his prospective Love Interest out until he could get a promotion. Where she replies that she'd have dated him even if he'd just been a bean-counter. He asks her why they never did and she responds: "You never asked."
  • An episode of Dungeons & Dragons (1983) has the group meet a tribe of tree-dwelling bear-like creatures. When they're surrounded by orcs, one of the bears surprises Eric by suddenly descending from the trees in Bamboo Technology elevator and tells him to hop in. Eric asks "Why didn't you tell us you had an elevator?" The bear replies "You didn't ask."
  • In "Franklin and Sam" from Franklin, Franklin tries to hide the fact that he still sleeps with his stuffed dog Sam after his friends and particularly Fox comment that only babies sleep with stuffed toys after Bear's little sister Beatrice gets upset over missing her teddy bear. Finally, while sneaking Sam into their sleepover tent, he finds them all sleeping with stuffed toys. When he asks why they didn't just tell him, Fox's sheepish excuse is "You didn't ask."
  • In the Trek episode of Futurama, we get this exchange between William Shatner and George Takei:
    George Takei: Have I ever given you any indication that I know karate?
    William Shatner: No, but ... you never talk about yourself.
    George Takei: Maybe if you showed a little interest ...
  • Used a lot in Jimmy Two-Shoes as a Rule of Funny-based method of handwaving Ass Pulls. For example, when giant robots constructed by Heloise begin to destroy Miseryville and Lucius is unable to stop them (he fired Heloise earlier), Heloise just gives him a remote which instantly turns them all off. Lucius asks why she didn't use it, to which Heloise drops the trope's name.
  • Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures gives us I.R.I.S., Questworld's A.I. user interface.
    Jonny: Whoa! Iris, you never said anything about these things duplicating!
    Iris: You never asked.
  • Subverted in Kim Possible with Ron Stoppable. His parents have a habit of making life-changing decisions without telling him, leaving him to find out when it's already happened (e.g., he didn't know his parents adopted a baby girl til he came home and found a crib where his room used to be, didn't know they were moving til the moving van came to pick him up). When he asks why nobody told him, his parents, rather than saying he didn't ask, say, "This is our way of telling you."
    • It could almost be labeled as Abusive Parents, but seeing as how at least his father is otherwise pretty good with his son, it's more like Parental Neglect. Or Parental Obliviousness, since they really don't seem to understand that this is not a good way to break important news to their child.
    • A more straightforward example occurs in "A Sitch In Time", after Shego escapes while Kim is primarily focused on Drakken:
      Kim: Shego is the Supreme One? Well, you could have mentioned that!
      Rufus 3000: I thought it was obvious.
  • In The Koala Brothers Outback Christmas, this is Frank's stated reason for not mentioning that he had a photo of Penny the penguin.
  • Muppet Babies (1984): In "Nice to Have Gnome You," after Piggy fails to get a straight answer from Fozzie and Rowlf as to which door leads to her book, she angrily decides to find it herself. Fozzie warns her not to go one way, saying that nobody ever does. Piggy snippily replies, "That's what I wanted to know in the first place!" and then proceeds to go the other way — only to fall down a trap door. Then we get this exchange:
    Fozzie: You think we should've told her nobody ever goes that way, either?
    Rowlf: Nah. She didn't ask.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode "The Ticket Master", Twilight Sparkle is torn between who to give her second ticket to the Grand Galloping Gala to. When the frustration becomes too much, she gives her two tickets back to the pony who gave them to her with a note of explanation. The reply? "Why didn't you just say so in the first place?" followed by a ticket for everyone. At least partially justified in that those tickets are very valuable items (indeed, the entire plot of the episode is driven by the fact that everyone in town wants one but only one extra ticket is available) and Twilight had no real reason to suspect that she could get four more just by asking.
    • In "Hearts and Hooves Day" Sweetie Belle reveals to Applebloom that a cure for the love potion that's causing the episode's problems only after Applebloom had had a panic attack about the potential chaos they had caused.
    • In "Every Little Thing She Does" Starlight Glimmer tries to streamline her friendship lessons by casting a spell that makes Twilight's friends do what she asks them...and only what she asks them.
      Starlight Glimmer: Fluttershy, where are all the animals?
      Fluttershy: They ran away.
      Starlight Glimmer: And why didn't you stop them?
      Fluttershy: Because you didn't ask me to.
  • Though never explicitly said, the ending to One Froggy Evening's sequel, Another Froggy Evening reveals that Michigan J. Frog's ribbit isn't a ribbit — he's speaking Martian, asking if they wanted to hear him sing. Since everyone who got him didn't understand him, he'd never sing... until Marvin the Martian gets him, who understands him fully and asks him to sing.
  • Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero: In "The Bewildering Bout of the Astounding Automatons", Rippen asks why Larry didn't tell him the mop Larry gave him was an exploding mop. Larry says it's because Rippen didn't ask.
  • Played with in ''Phineas and Ferb". In "Swiss Family Phineas", the family and Isabella winds up marooned on a deserted island. Dad asks Phineas and Ferb to find shelter while he and Mom fix the ship and Candace finds food. After Candance sees the luxury treehouse the boys built, she lists off a list of things they could have built to get them off the island. Phineas' response for each one is that "Dad didn't ask [them] to build a (insert method of transportation).
  • In The Powerpuff Girls special "Twas The Fight Before Christmas", Princess tampers with Santa's naughty and nice lists so he would grant her wish to be a Powerpuff Girl for Christmas. He ends up removing her flight suit when he realizes he's been tricked, causing Buttercup to comment that she didn't know that he could give kids superpowers. Santa replied that no one had ever asked him before.
  • Zig-zagged in the Punky Brewster episode "Growing Pain." Pepperoni pizza has made Glomer grow giant sized and it appears the flowers from Margaux's parade float are helping to reduce him. But as he tries to explain, Punky says "I don't want to hear another word about Margaux's dumb flowers!" Later in the parade, Punky sees the flowers reducing Glomer, so she asks him why he didn't tell her:
    Glomer: Well, I try to. But you say "I don't want to hear another word about Margaux's dumb flowers!"
  • At the end of the Recess episode "The New Kid", Gus is allowed to be referred to by his real name instead of "the new kid" after standing up to King Bob, to which King Bob replied that he only had to ask if he wanted his name that badly. The old new kid (real name "Morris") who had to put up with being called "the new kid" for three years, complains to King Bob about this treatment. Again, King Bob nonchalantly tells him that he should have said something.
  • In Robotix, Compucore gives the "I didn't tell you before because you didn't ask me" excuse twice when offering solutions to the problems of the Protectons and their human allies, the first time being when they revealed that a backup copy of Argus' mind could be used to restore him after his consciousness was delete and replaced with that of Terragar by the Terrakors.
  • The Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo Show: Throughout "South Seas Scare" Scrappy attacks the monster in his typical fashion. Nearing the end of the short, however, Shaggy says that he wishes somebody would dump the monster back from the volcano it came out of. Scrappy asks why they didn't say so sooner, and proceeds to do exactly that, stunning Scooby and Shaggy.
  • In the SheZow episode "SheZow For a Day", when Kelly tells Guy that he's on call 24/7, he jokes that isn't a real rule. Shelia slaps Guy in the face with a large book.
    Kelly: There's a SheZow rule book.
    Guy: Why didn't you tell us before?
    Shelia: You didn't ask.
  • In The Snorks, a shady peddler known as the Snailsman shows up occasionally to sell items to the characters. Said merchandise has some kind of drawback and when the buyers complain about not being told, the Snailsman would reply that they never asked.
  • In the South Park episode "My Future Self 'n' Me", Stan discovers that Butters had his future self appear several months ago. When Stan asks Butters why he never told anyone, he said no one had bother asking him.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Mid-Life Crustacean", SpongeBob and Patrick lure Mr. Krabs into going on a "panty raid" — and they do so, of all places, in Mama Krabs' house.
    Mr. Krabs: Why didn't ya tell me this was me mother's house?
    SpongeBob: Why didn't ya ask?
  • Steven Universe: Steven's lion has many magical powers Steven is unaware of. Whenever one is revealed to him, he yells "Why don't you tell me you can do these things you do!?" Justified of course, because Lion can't talk.
  • SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron: T-Bone's answer to Razor asking why he never mentioned to his best friend and fellow Swat Kat that he can't swim.
  • From the TaleSpin episode "In Search of Ancient Blunders", while Baloo, Wildcat, and Myra are trying to get out of the pyramid...
    Baloo: Come on, this way.
    Wildcat: No, this way.
    Baloo: Wildcat, why didn't you tell us you knew the way out?
    Wildcat: You didn't ask.
  • In the Teen Titans episode "The Quest", Robin figures out that the eponymous True Master is the old woman he keeps bumping into during his walk up the mountain path. Why does he learn this at the end? "You never asked!" (In fact, this is one of many ways she seems similar to Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid; see above.)
  • Thomas & Friends: In "Pop Goes the Diesel", Diesel goes to much bother to get a bunch of decrepid trucks for Duck, only to have them jammed on the tracks, so he has to help clear the mess. Duck then tells him he already has trucks, and didn't tell Diesel because he didn't ask. Also, because Diesel was boasting how revolutionary Diesel engines are.
  • This happens often to Henchman 21 and the other Monarch henchmen in The Venture Bros., so much so it's practically become a running gag in the show.
    (The Henchmen are trying to see in the dark.)
    Henchman 21: Dude I can’t believe we didn’t get blown up. We’re like those guys on TV who never get shot. Yeah we’re like main characters.
    Henchman 24: Don’t jinx it! See anything?
    Henchman 21: No I can’t see squat with these tinted goggles on.
    Henchman 24: Douche, use the night vision. What’s wrong with you? (he hits 21 on the side of his head and 21′s night vision goggles turn on)
    Henchman 21: I can see everything! This is so cool, when did we get these?
    Henchman 24: Like, 1994.
    Henchman 21: Why don’t I know this stuff?!
  • Wacky Races: In "Baja-Ha-Ha Race", the Mean Machine gets stuck on mud until a donkey pulls it out. To make sure his rivals won't be as lucky, Dick Dastardly buys the donkey. When Penelope Pitstop gets stuck, the seller calls another donkey to pull her car. Dastardly protests that the seller didn't say he had another donkey and the seller replies that Dastardly didn't ask and he has several donkeys.
  • Wander over Yonder: At the end of "The Box", one of the Lords of Illumination remarks to another that he didn't know he was a grandpa (as indicated from the World's Greatest Grandpa keychain that was among the items Sylvia forced the Lords to put into the box they used for Wander's test so he'd stop obsessing over the box's contents). He responds to the other Lord by pointing out that he never asked about his personal life.
  • In Young Justice (2010), the Justice League is none-too-pleased with the reveal that Captain Marvel had been lying about his age, and is actually just a kid. Billy points out that he didn't lie — they just never asked, and he never told. Wonder Woman, however, just says that a lie of omission is still a lie.

    Real Life 
  • In Tip O'Neill's first Congressional election, he campaigned all over Massachusetts, but he found out that his next-door neighbor, an elderly woman, said she would not vote for him. Upon going to her house and asking her why she wouldn't vote for him, she answered that he'd never asked her to. After that, O'Neill asked as many of his constituents as he could if they would vote for him.
  • There are many examples of celebrities that would have gladly provided their own voices on an animated series if only they'd been asked.
  • Richard Lee calls this statement "the bane of anthropologists everywhere". He mentions it as part of a hilarious story about trying to buy a cow for a village full of people to thank them for helping him, only to have them complain about it and make fun of it and call him an idiot for buying such a terrible cow. Turns out, that's what they do to anyone who seems to be getting too high an opinion of himself — and they would have told him that if he'd thought to ask if they were serious.
  • During the pre-production of Gone Girl, the production team spent months trying to find the perfect town that could stand-in for the book's fictional town, and finally settled for Cape Girardeau. When David Fincher mentioned this to the book's author, she casually said, "Oh yeah, that is perfect. I was actually thinking of Cape Girardeau when I wrote it." Fincher was dumbfounded for about a minute before stating: "You know, these things don't have to be a fucking secret."
  • Bill Clinton's famous "definition of 'is'" quote is actually an example of this. He interpreted the question "Is there a sexual relationship between you and Monica Lewinsky?" to mean "Is there presently...." when apparently the interlocutor intended to ask "Is there now or was there ever..." and just formatted the question poorly.
  • The creators of The Legend of Korra were worried about breaking the unspoken rule that forbade openly gay characters until they realized it was only unspoken because no one had bothered to ask. So they went to the executives and Nick permitted the storyline, thus allowing the gay pairing of Korra and Asami, who get paired together into an Official Couple in the final moments of the Grand Finale.
  • In US court system (as well as other common law countries), witnesses are generally only allowed to answer questions they are actually given by either one of the attorneys or the judge (if the witness goes on a tangent beyond the scope of the question, the other side can object on Narrative grounds). A common flub among trial attorneys is forgetting to ask a question to bring some piece of testimony in, only for the attorney to realize after they had finish questioning the witness they forgot to ask.

No one asked for a stinger so you're not getting one...wait a minute.

Alternative Title(s): You Never Asked



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Main / YouDidntAsk

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