We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Plot Hole?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A plot hole is an element within a story which does not make logical sense, or which illustrates something is missing in terms of character action. This can take a number of different forms and be as simple as characters knowing information that they should not, or not understanding something that is common knowledge. A more elaborate plot hole can be an event within a story that makes no sense, such as the sudden appearance of an item in a scene that was not previously introduced. The severity of this type of moment can be fairly minor, though in some instances it can serve to unravel the logic of an entire narrative.

There are a number of different ways in which a plot hole can develop in a story. These moments are often the result of a writer wanting to have a scene function a certain way, without establishing a logical reason behind it. If a writer thinks of a moment between two characters that is especially dramatic or appealing, then he or she might make it part of a story. This type of decision can create a plot hole, however, since the setup necessary for the scene to really make sense may not have been added.

One of the most common types of plot hole is an instance in which a character has knowledge that he or she should not reasonably have. Often, this is seen in movies or television programs when a new character arrives with answers to all of the questions already established in the story. This device allows a storyteller to provide answers without characters finding it through more elaborate means, but often ignores how the knowledgeable new addition found this information in the first place.

Similarly, a plot hole can develop when a character seems to lack common knowledge. If a reasonable audience member can determine something about the events of a story to come, then characters should be able to do so as well. Character ignorance can create dramatic irony within a story, but it can be detrimental to realism if taken too far.

The actual events within a story can often create a plot hole, especially if problems are resolved through convenience rather than a logical progression of events. Common examples of this include minor details like characters finding car keys in the visor or glove compartment of a vehicle. In the real world, most people do not keep a spare set of keys in such a convenient location, for fear of theft. When a plot hole like this takes place in a story, it may be so off-putting that it destroys realism for the audience.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
By AnswerMan — On Oct 02, 2014

I have found fan websites that will discuss all of the plot holes in major movies, like "Star Wars" or "Lord of the Rings". Sometimes I'll catch some problems with the storyline as I'm watching the movie, but other plot holes won't seem that obvious until I read those discussions. Sometimes I'll disagree with someone else's idea of a plot hole, since it was probably explained better in the book or a scene was cut out of the movie.

By Inaventu — On Oct 01, 2014

One of my least favorite plot holes on TV series is when characters seem to forget most of the things they've already done in past seasons. Somebody will get locked in a room by the bad guys and somehow forget about the spare key in the desk they found two years ago when it happened the first time. Some characters will meet each other over and over again and act like they're meeting for the first time.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.