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I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.
Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.
Need me you will, so I may appear.
Appear I may, I don't decide.
Decide I don't, my master does.

I'm a word, I tell you words.
I've a task, you know my task.
I'm short, I shorten your path.
I've the answer, now tell me it!

What am I?

Hint #1:

I'm not far.

Hint #2:

Far I'm not, indeed I'm here.

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  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I really hope the answer isn't 'boner'...... $\endgroup$ – Jiminion Mar 24 '15 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ Nah it is not... $\endgroup$ – leoll2 Mar 24 '15 at 19:22
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Are you

a hint?

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.

Hints are often hidden by spoiler tags

Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.
Need me you will, so I may appear.

As people fail to guess the correct answers, hints are given.

Appear I may, I don't decide.
Decide I don't, my master does.

The creator of the riddle chooses when to give hints.

I'm a word, I tell you words.

"hint" is a word, and a hint provides many helpful words.

I've a task, you know my task.

The task is helping people figure out the riddle.

I'm short, I shorten your path.

Hints are usually shorter than the original clue/riddle, and they help you get to the solution.

I've the answer, now tell me it!

Hints, by their nature, allude to the correct answer, as if they are beckoning for you to get it right.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That's it! Well done! $\endgroup$ – leoll2 Mar 26 '15 at 6:06
5
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It must be the

apostrophe-sign, like in "I'm" or "I've"

Explanation:

First of all, the apostrophe is used throughout the whole riddle, so it is probably the clue.

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.
Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.
Need me you will, so I may appear.
Appear I may, I don't decide.
Decide I don't, my master does.

The apostrophe may appear or may not. The writer decides if to include the apostrophe.

I'm a word, I tell you words.
I've a task, you know my task.
I'm short, I shorten your path.
I've the answer, now tell me it!

The apostrophe makes the statement shorter. It is no word, but it "tells" you words.

Second guess, based on the first one:

abbreviation

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wow, I keep getting brilliant answers! Unfortunately, this isn't the right answer! $\endgroup$ – leoll2 Mar 25 '15 at 12:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Well, it was worth trying.. :P Btw. when I read your riddle, in my head it is vocalized by the voice of Yoda from Star Wars. $\endgroup$ – zlobi.wan.kenobi Mar 25 '15 at 12:49
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Master Obi Wan, that was intended, though not helpful for the solution eheh! $\endgroup$ – leoll2 Mar 25 '15 at 12:58
3
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It seems like a bit of a trick given the title, but...

OPPORTUNITY?

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.

It's often hard to find an opportunity; metaphorically, it's well hidden away.

Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.

You often need to wait for an opportunity to do something.

Need me you will, so I may appear.

If you're lucky, an opportunity appears!

Appear I may, I don't decide.
Decide I don't, my master does.

An opportunity doesn't decide anything by itself; you have to decide to take it.

I'm a word, I tell you words.

"Opportunity" is a word.

I've a task, you know my task.

It may be an opportunity to perform some task.

I'm short, I shorten your path.

If you seize an opportunity, it may significantly reduce your labour.

I've the answer, now tell me it!

See above :-)

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Nice, but not the answer! $\endgroup$ – leoll2 Mar 25 '15 at 6:21
3
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This might be the deepest, most thought-provoking answer to a riddle ever. It's

Siri

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.
Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.
Need me you will, so I may appear.
Appear I may, I don't decide.
Decide I don't, my master does.

It's a feature of the phone that stays in the background until the owner asks for it ("Siri, how do I ...")

I'm a word, I tell you words.

Siri responds to questions in speech. And, she can define words for you.

I've a task, you know my task

Siri keeps tasks (reminders, alarms, etc) for you

I'm short, I shorten your path.

Siri is a short word. She shortens your path by giving you GPS directions.

I've the answer, now tell me it!

Siri has all the answers.

Disclaimer

I don't own an iPhone.

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  • $\begingroup$ Cool, but it isn't the correct answer! $\endgroup$ – leoll2 Mar 25 '15 at 6:22
  • $\begingroup$ The Disclaimer made my day! :D $\endgroup$ – Fᴀʀʜᴀɴ Aɴᴀᴍ May 5 '16 at 15:06
2
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Perhaps your unreliable friend is ...

Muse

And why?

The muse is not visible, yet we need it to create anything worthwhile. It may not appear; the master of the muse is fate. Muses inspire in words and deeds; "I shorten the path" is the least convincing fit for this answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good thoughs, but this isn't the answer! $\endgroup$ – leoll2 Mar 25 '15 at 6:20
2
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My Answer

tongue

Reasoning

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.

very hard to see your own tongue without a mirror

Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.

you need it for tasting

Need me you will, so I may appear.

when eating

Appear I may, I don't decide.

tongue can't control itself

Decide I don't, my master does.

humans do

I'm a word, I tell you words.

helps you to articulate

I've a task, you know my task.

we all know the purposes of a tongue

I'm short, I shorten your path.

chewing is the first step in the digestive process and tongue aids in that

I've the answer, now tell me it!

you're a tongue!

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I like your answer, but it's not what I'm looking for! $\endgroup$ – leoll2 Mar 25 '15 at 15:19
2
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Is it

History?

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden.

History records many event, but some remain hidden

Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me.

While not all are recorded, a story of the past is still needed.

Need me you will, so I may appear.

History exists because you 'will' (in future) need it

Appear I may, I don't decide.

It's not the one who wrote history decides its content,

Decide I don't, my master does.

But the people / things in the past.

I'm a word, I tell you words.

History is a word, and it tells you 'his-story' in words

I've a task, you know my task.

A task to record the past

I'm short, I shorten your path.

Human history is short, yet contains valuable information to shorten your path (to success, for the opportunist friend)

I've the answer, now tell me it!

History!

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I like the attempt, but it's not the answer! $\endgroup$ – leoll2 Mar 25 '15 at 19:58
2
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I think its a

Navigation app

Explanation line by line:

I could be there, yet I'll stay hidden. Hidden I'll stay, but you'll need me. Need me you will, so I may appear.

You only use your navigation app when you need it.

Appear I may, I don't decide. Decide I don't, my master does.

It isn't up to the phone to open the app but the user can.

I'm a word, I tell you words.

The navigation app tells which path you have to take.

I've a task, you know my task.

You set it to go to a certain direction

I'm short, I shorten your path.

It shortens the path by choosing the shortest route.

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Good answer, but not what I'm looking for. $\endgroup$ – leoll2 Mar 25 '15 at 11:17

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