Even with tropes about tropes (metatropes) that describe how tropes tend to be used, it can be hard to pin down the exact relationship between a trope and a particular work. This is a quick-reference guide, illustrated for clarity with two simple examples:
Played Straight: The trope is simply used. Note that this is the 'default' manifestation of a trope unless stated otherwise; when citing an example, it's usually needless (and/or redundant) to explicitly mention that it was "played straight". (Inversely, if a work plays the same trope several times in several different ways or it's a trope which is more commonly played with than played straight, like a Dead Horse Trope, then it's worth noting it was "played straight".) Playing a widely-used trope straight is an example of Genre Consistency.
The butler is shown early on as the suspect with the flimsiest alibi, like a typical Red Herring with a Big Secret, but after a series of twists and turns the detective reveals to everyone's surprise that it was old Alfred, after all.
The glowing weapons appear to not glow at all — at least, not in the visible spectrum.
Parodied: The form of the trope is twisted and often used in a silly way for comic effect.
The heroes fight with giant glowsticks, the kind that you have to snap and shake.
Deconstructed: The intentional use and exploration of the trope, played far straighter than usual in order to show the trope as poorly thought out, impractical, and/or much less nice than commonly assumed.
The butler is a revolutionary serial killer, who purposely takes jobs as butlers to murder his rich masters. All the unfortunate implications of class warfare that this suggests are brought up and discussed.
The most powerful characters are all blind. What was the audience expecting, them to be able to see after that ultimate attack that's rated at 47 million Candela?
Zig Zagged: None of the above, or more than one of the above; a trope that gets triple subverted, or inverted and played straight at the same time, or, well, just done confusingly.
The butler did it, but he was under Mind Control at the time. And it later turns out that the one mind controlling the butler looked exactly like the butler. And then we find out that it was actually his Evil Twin, who was also a butler. But it turns out it was a conspiracy hatched by the Butler and his Evil Twin, one born of necessity because the victim was going to do something monstrous.
The butler had to be the killer, because the target audience are people who never read mysteries before.
Children are known to be drawn to the shinier things in a show, so the most powerful things are indicated that way.
Implied: The trope isn't shown, but the audience is indirectly led to believe that it happened off-screen.
The detective rules out all the guests one-by-one, but in the end he fails to find the real killer. The astute reader notices he never bothered to investigate the butler.
A character on his way to judge martial arts try-outs carries a light meter.
Tropes can also be played differently in terms of tone and style:
Played for Laughs: The humorous elements of a trope are played up. Differs from Parody, when different, by being a straight use.
The Butler did it, but it took him three hundred and seventeen tries (of which we're shown twelve), all of which his master escaped without realizing anything was happening (including the time when he walked up and shot his master, which the master passed off as "you could've hurt someone, mistaking that gun for a lighter.").
The hero's glowing sword occasionally starts to flicker and go out, and he has to smack it a few times to get it working again.
Played for Drama: The serious or melodramatic elements of a trope are played up. Normally only applicable for comedic tropes, but can show up for any trope.
The Butler did it, but is quite sympathetic, and the reasons he did it are gone into in great detail.
Intended Audience Reaction: A reaction that is normally unintentional on the part of the writer is used intentionally, to toy with the audience. Not applicable to many, many tropes, but still a method of playing with a trope. This concept is not applicable to generic tropes such as The Butler Did It or Power Glows, but one might suggest, for example: