An example comes from a cartoon where there is a woman talking to her boyfriend.

There's a "cloud" that comes from her mouth, and the text inside reads: "You're so handsome." But there is another cloud that comes from the top of her head (brain), and the text reads: "Man, does he have bad breath."

What are these "clouds" called? Would "halo" be a suitable term?

And what is this technique called that shows what a character is really thinking as opposed to what she is saying?

1 Answer 1


They're called speech bubbles and thought bubbles, respectively. Speech bubbles usually have clean edges and a kind of triangle pointing to the speaker's mouth; thought bubbles have puffy, cloud-like edges, and the connection to the speaker is a trail of individual round bubbles.

I might call the technique "disconnect," but I'm not sure if that's the official term.

  • 2
    The thoughts are sometimes called the "internal monologue." Feb 24, 2015 at 16:25
  • @ChrisSunami: Very good point. That's the other term I was looking for. Thank you.
    – Tom Au
    Feb 24, 2015 at 17:01
  • @TomAu "Internal monologue" is the correct term for the mental stream of consciousness. It may be the same as what the person is saying or it may not; that term doesn't have anything to do with the content. Feb 24, 2015 at 18:31
  • If I understand correctly, the "thought bubbles" contain the internal monologue, and the "speech bubbles" the dialog.
    – Tom Au
    Feb 24, 2015 at 18:52
  • @TomAu Yes. I just wanted to clarify that simply because there are thought bubbles and speech bubbles, it does not require that the content be different. Feb 24, 2015 at 22:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.