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Playing With / Only One Name

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Basic Trope: A character has only one name.

  • Straight: Alice does not have a last name.
  • Exaggerated:
  • Downplayed: Alice has a last name; it's just never mentioned.
  • Justified:
    • Last names don't exist in Alice's culture.
    • Alice is a clone or a robot, and therefore never had a family.
  • Inverted: Everyone has several middle names which are frequently listed as a Running Gag.
  • Subverted:
    • Alice was lying when she said she didn't have a last name.
    • "Alice" is a one-word nickname.
  • Double Subverted:
    • However, her friend Bob only has one name.
    • Alice really does have only one name; it's just something else.
  • Parodied: Whenever asked what her last name is, instead of saying she has none, Alice just falls silent.
  • Zig Zagged: After being led to believe that Alice is her only name, we find out that she actually has a last name. But when we see her official birth certificate, there's no surname listed. Then it turns out the certificate was a fake; her actual is Becky Taylor. It's never made clear though if that's a two-part given name or a given name and a separate surname.
  • Averted: Everyone has a last name.
  • Enforced: "We need an early sign that Alice is really a clone. Let's have her reveal that she only has one name."
  • Lampshaded:
    • "You know, Alice, I don't think you've ever told me your last name." "I don't have one, Bob. I'm just Alice."
    • "Leave it to me. Adventure is my middle name!" "That's strange. How can you have a middle name but no last one?"
  • Invoked: Alice renounces her last name and doesn't bother to come up with a new one.
  • Exploited: Charlie doesn't want Alice to join his Secret Circle of Secrets, so he prints membership forms asking for a last name.
  • Defied: Alice invents a last name.
  • Discussed: "Do you even have a last name, Alice?" "Yes, I sure do, just like all normal people. But it's none of your beeswax."
  • Conversed: "I've seen lots of characters whose last names are never mentioned, but as far as I know, only Alice doesn't have one."
  • Implied: All other characters, including minor ones, have a last name mentioned somewhere, even if it's just in an official guidebook.
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  • Deconstructed: Alice is ridiculed because of her lack of a last name.
  • Reconstructed: Alice lives in a very tolerant society, so she is always treated as an equal despite only having one name.
  • Played For Laughs: As a Running Gag, everyone keeps forgetting that Alice doesn't have a last name.
  • Played For Drama: Alice only has one name because she changed her full name to one name after doing something horrible.


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