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Playing With: Insistent Terminology
Basic Trope: Somebody irately objects to someone else’s use of a certain expression and substitutes in another one.
  • Straight: Alice and her nephew Bob go to the zoo. Alice gets angry when Bob says “striped horse” to refer to a zebra and pointedly says, “Zebra.”
  • Exaggerated: Every single verb, adjective, adverb and noun Bob uses is subject to Alice’s harsh critiquing.
  • Downplayed: Alice rolls her eyes when Bob calls a zebra a “striped horse,” but says nothing.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted: Bob corrects Alice on her use of “hardened snow” for “ice.”
  • Subverted:
    Bob: Maybe they only keep the poor striped horse in the zoo because she has no savanna to return to.
    Alice: That’s … actually a very astute observation.
  • Double Subverted:
  • Parodied: No matter what Bob says — even passive-voice verbs such as “is” — Alice will still make his use thereof a bone of contention.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice complains about some of Bob’s words but ignores others.
  • Averted: Alice lets Bob use whatever word he desires.
  • Lampshaded: “Bob, you obviously haven’t been availing yourself of the dictionary I got you for Christmas.”
  • Invoked: Bob utters a word that is clearly out of place and expects Alice to tell him off.
  • Exploited: Bob disagrees with his aunt on nearly all hotly debated social issues, so he uses an expression that will make her angry and plans to demonstrate her conflation of style with substance.
  • Defied: Alice is about to lambaste Bob for his use of a word with which she disagrees, but decides that’s a job best left to his teachers.
  • Discussed:
    Cathy: You should learn to accept disagreement once in a while, Alice.
    Alice: Yes, but what I disagree with someone over what is obviously the wrong word?
  • Conversed: Alice gives Bob a novel set in Victorian London; he reads it several times, and the next time he sees her he asks why the protagonist was caned for using a disagreeable word. She answers, “Because it was a time when children knew how to speak correctly!”
  • Deconstructed: Bob develops self-esteem issues as a result of Alice constantly quibbling with his word choices and becomes an Elective Mute.
  • Reconstructed: Bob learns to use socially accepted expressions around other people.

Back to Insistent Terminology, not to I Hate When You Say That!

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