This is not apostrophe (no, not that kind of apostrophe) or anagnorisis; this is when a character communicates a exposition on some aspect of the story's background or context (e.g. how FTL travel works; why the families are at war) ostensibly to another character (often a foreigner or recluse) but actually in place of simple omniscient narration.

I'm not criticizing the practice; I just want a word for it.

Thanks in advance

  • 3
    It is often called info-dumping or "as you know, Bob". see also
    – The Photon
    Aug 9, 2013 at 4:56
  • 1
    Are you thinking of "expository dialogue?" Or the broader "exposition?"
    – user867
    Aug 9, 2013 at 5:15
  • @ThePhoton you should write that as your answer, and include the link too.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 9, 2013 at 6:44
  • @ThePhoton The link you provide also refers to it as an idiot lecture.
    – bib
    Aug 9, 2013 at 12:52
  • The fifth business is a related concept, though not exactly a name for this. Aug 9, 2013 at 13:38

1 Answer 1


What you're describing is expository dialogue.

More colloquially, it's also called an info dump or "as you know, Bob" dialogue.

The last term is generally used in a critical sense, referring to dialogue in a movie or tv show that is obviously unnatural and presented only for the audience's benefit. For example:

Dr. Smartly: As you know, Bob, giant robots have a universal weakness for high-fructose corn syrup, and I've been researching this in my lab. If a giant robot ever attacks Pleasantville, it's a good thing the soda pop factory is nearby...

[90 minutes later]

Bob Dogood (our hero): Eat sweet justic, infernal menace!

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