The scenario: The power was out but it came back up. However, a friend or family member noticed that late and said:

Oh, the power is back up!

You noticed that long before they did (sometimes because it is obvious). You want to comment on/about their late notice sarcastically with something like:

What? You've been sleeping?

Good morning! (as if they have just woken up)

What idioms that you natives use in such a situation? Of course the sarcastic ones!

Edit:Could this idiom also be used?

Wonders never cease! and Will wonders never Cease! Prov. What an amazing thing has happened! (Said when something very surprising happens. Somewhat ironic; can imply that the surprising thing should have happened before, but did not.) Fred: Hi, honey. I cleaned the kitchen for you. Ellen: Wonders never cease! Jill: Did you hear? The company is allowing us to take a holiday tomorrow. Jane: Wonders never cease! Not only was my plane on time, the airline also delivered my luggage safely. Will wonders never cease?

  • 1
    Perhaps "Hellooooo + some phrase!"
    – learner
    Jan 4, 2015 at 20:21
  • 20
    "No shit, Sherlock". Jan 4, 2015 at 22:44
  • 4
    'Oh, you think so?' with ever so slight stress on 'think'.
    – user6951
    Jan 5, 2015 at 1:50
  • 1
    Sometimes a very simple acknowledgement that they are correct does the job when said in the right tone of voice and accompanied by a direct stare. I might go with, "Indeed," or, "Yes. Yes, it is." Jan 5, 2015 at 20:22
  • 1
    Act like you didn't know either, and the statement is the most amazing revelation. "Oh my gosh! The power is back on!!! I didn't even realize. HEY EVERYONE, the power is back on!" This is particularly effective if someone else is doing something with power, such as watching TV, and they can just give an eyebrows-raised stare to make the point for you that the person is a bit late to the party.
    – ErikE
    Jan 7, 2015 at 0:12

16 Answers 16


I can't think of any expressions that are specific to the case of noticing a recent change, but there are a number of common expressions that can be used whenever someone says something that should have already been obvious. Here are a few:

  • "Thank you, Captain Obvious." (Captain Obvious, naturally, commands the Starship Duh.)
  • "No duh."
  • "No shit." (Or "No shit, Sherlock.")
  • "You don't say!"
  • "What else is new?"

Note that some of these are more sarcastic than others. In particular, as CarSmack and J.R. point out below, "No shit" and "No shit, Sherlock" are harsher, and I wouldn't use them with casual acquaintances. J.R.'s alternative suggestion, "No kidding", is less harsh.

  • 3
    +1 for Captain Obvious. But 'No shit, Sherlock' is rather harsh.
    – user6951
    Jan 5, 2015 at 1:47
  • 4
    I agree with @CarSmack – "No shit" might work among buddies, but could ring a bit harsh among more casual acquaintances. A milder version would be, "No kidding!"
    – J.R.
    Jan 5, 2015 at 8:46
  • @CarSmack: Yeah, agreed. I've edited my answer to note this; thanks!
    – ruakh
    Jan 5, 2015 at 16:42
  • Could this idiom also be used? Wonders never cease! and Will wonders never Cease! Prov. What an amazing thing has happened! (Said when something very surprising happens. Somewhat ironic; can imply that the surprising thing should have happened before, but did not.) Fred: Hi, honey. I cleaned the kitchen for you. Ellen: Wonders never cease! Jill: Did you hear? The company is allowing us to take a holiday tomorrow. Jane: Wonders never cease! Not only was my plane on time, the airline also delivered my luggage safely. Will wonders never cease?
    – learner
    May 16, 2015 at 16:56
  • 1
    @learner: Well, it wouldn't work in your initial example; if someone says, "Oh, the power is back up!", a reply of "Will wonders never cease?" would mean "It's surprising that the power is back up", rather than "You were slow to realize that." There could be some contexts where both would work, but I'm having difficulty formulating one. In theory, if someone said "I just realized that ____", then "Thank you, Captain Obvious" would reply to the "____", whereas "Wonders never cease!" could reply to the "I just realized" . . . but I can't construct an example where both truly work.
    – ruakh
    May 16, 2015 at 17:36

The best sarcasm is over your victim's head. Quote Horatio in Hamlet:

There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave
To tell us this.

  • 7
    If someone uses that among my circle of friends, he would get beat up.
    – anotherDev
    Jan 5, 2015 at 9:51
  • 7
    +1 for humour, sarcasm and subtlety, all without sounding offensive. In fact, I just signed up on ell specifically to upvote this answer... Jan 5, 2015 at 16:19
  • 2
    @Sam: If I do get beaten up, then the very popular meme would be extremely appropriate: "Totally worth it". Jan 5, 2015 at 16:30

In Indian English, quite a common word for someone who realizes things lately is... tube-light


The reason is, here we have tube-lights that don't start the moment you put on the switch! They blink, blink and then get started. However, tube-lights these days come up with double 'starters' or 'chokes' for an instant start. But the phrase is still used by almost all around me.

However, the tongue-in-cheek comment is mainly used for someone who understands something late. For instance, if I crack a joke and you laugh after some time, I call you a tube-light. But here too, the person is unaware of the power that has already come back... so sarcastically this way of answering shall work more.

Note that I'm now replying in the context given. It's connecting a tube-light as a person who realizes things later and also, a tube-light that requires power, which is back now!

Let's come up with more sarcastic comment using the word for that conversation (only) -

Oh! Power is back
Oh? Really? But the tube-light still took time to light-up!

A Britannicism expressing a similar concept: "Well, well, the penny finally dropped!" -suggested by some anonymous who is neither allowed to post an answer nor a comment.

  • 2
    I like the metaphor; it would work well for these bulbs, too, if only "Hey, energy-saving bulb..." had a nice ring to it. :^/
    – J.R.
    Jan 5, 2015 at 8:49
  • 1
    @MV - Yes, yhey may light up right away – but they tend to take a few seconds to reach full brightness. Some people can be like that sometimes, too, including yours truly.
    – J.R.
    Jan 5, 2015 at 8:59
  • 1
    @Sam 'chokes' corrected...i just missed it but then... it lit-up the way The sky lit up quickly above the raging volcano! :P But still... light up-corrected!
    – Maulik V
    Jan 5, 2015 at 9:59
  • 4
    What a terrific metaphor! Alas, it won't work in the US: we call those "fluorescents", which doesn't have quite the same scornful ring as toob Jan 5, 2015 at 20:45
  • 1
    This is a highly entertaining answer. Never heard the expression either. As for CFL lights, I can notice a momentary pause as they light up.
    – user6951
    Jan 5, 2015 at 20:50

Alert the media!

A situation where something I wouldn't have known if it weren't for you.

  • 2
    Welcome to ELL.SE! Visit the help center or take a tour if you had any questions about the policies of the site. Anyway, I think it's better if you leave small piece of info as a comment from now forth.
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 5, 2015 at 8:43
  • +1 Sorry I was slow to get it the first time; it's not bad after all :) Too many open tabs!
    – learner
    Jan 5, 2015 at 22:05
  • 2
    The Urbandictionary dictionary's definition: I'll alert the media
    – learner
    Jan 5, 2015 at 22:18
  • Also "Stop the presses!" or "Stop the press!" to refer to halting newspaper production so as to accommodate this new piece of news. Sep 16, 2015 at 13:12
  • +1, though this can also be used to mean "You're making that sound more important than it is."
    – ruakh
    Apr 21, 2020 at 16:42

A good comment for an absent-minded person:

What planet were you on?


Earth to (insert name), ...

  • 2
    The latter works better for when the person isn't paying attention at all and you're trying to get their attention; once they've noticed whatever they should have notices, it doesn't work so well.
    – cpast
    Jan 5, 2015 at 21:17

One I hear quite a bit is

Boy, nothing gets past you!

  • Where is it used by the way?
    – learner
    Jan 6, 2015 at 21:16
  • 1
    It's used very commonly by the country/western types here in Kansas, but you'd probably be likely to hear it through the mid/southwestern United States.
    – Sidney
    Jan 6, 2015 at 21:19
  • Thank you, and here's the Google Ngrams
    – learner
    Jan 6, 2015 at 21:22

In the U.S., you could say:

Well, that news bulletin is a day late and a dollar short.

Wiktionary explains how the idiom a day late and a dollar short refers to an action that is "taken too late and is too feeble to be of any use."

  • I don't think the idiom is all that suited here.
    – anotherDev
    Jan 5, 2015 at 9:53
  • @Sam - Maybe not for the person, but perhaps for the news. I agree that it's a little on the iffy side.
    – J.R.
    Jan 5, 2015 at 11:07
  • As an indirect device with some novelty it's great.
    – user6951
    Jan 5, 2015 at 20:51
  • The penny finally drops!

  • The last horse crosses the finish line!

  • Uh... yeah! (There is a specific intonation to "yeah" that expresses "you have just said something obvious". I am not exactly sure how to describe it, but it is a sort of rising-falling-rising.)

  • Slow applause, or the phrase slow clap

  • Yes. Yes, that is true. (Spoken slowly and without emotion.)

  • Any phrase that would normally be used to express surprise, said sarcastically. You don't say! Wow, really?

  • Any phrase that would normally compliment their intelligence, observation, etc., said sarcastically. Brilliant deduction! How clever of you to notice!

  • Good ones! The Urban Dictionary describes that intonation as a valley girl pronunciation. I tried to find an audio clip, the best I could find was this one, which has the longer "Uh, yeah... ya THINK?" – which could also be used in the context the O.P. is asking about. When "Uh, yeah!" is used by itself, the yeah is typcially pronounced longer than that, almost as if it has two syllables.
    – J.R.
    Jan 6, 2015 at 10:57
  • The penny idiom is a good addition. Wonder if Americans have a similar one. So far, "You don't say" is my favorite.
    – learner
    Jan 6, 2015 at 14:08

I have seen this used online, in response to someone who posts a blatantly obvious comment, in a serious discussion.

I wouldn't have figured it out in a million years, if not for your insightful observation.

I personally find it too harsh, so I rarely use it myself. I rather go with:

We are having a pretty bad network delay today.



No kidding!

Or more colorfully:

Wake up and smell the coffee!


Oh, really?

works in this situation.

  • 2
    Intonation would be very important to make it sarcastic though. I say "oh really?" when I hear something interesting.
    – ColleenV
    Jan 5, 2015 at 1:04
  • Yeah...pronunciationwise, it tends to sound more like, "Oh, really."
    – cHao
    Jan 6, 2015 at 15:32

I usually say "You're cut off" - as in "you've had too much to drink and we're not serving you any more"


Asking 'are you sure?' is normally a good one because the friend will then elaborate, but there's no need to listen to their answer as it will be about as informative as their initial comment!


"Lightning wit strikes again"



ones that seem to have missed the party so far…

Oh, the power is back up!

Is it?

How can you tell?

So where's my dinner?

So that's where my shilling went. [reference to old-style coin operated electricity meters & doubles as a ref to a one-armed bandit - once the coin drops]

Sorry? What? Can't hear you for the News/Eastenders/whatever TV show

3 versions of the same thing
Thanks, I'll be sure to let the doctor know.
Thank you Matron.
Thank you Captain.


In the South, we might say, "Can't get nothin' past you."


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