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Trope Distinctions: S-Z
Part 5 of the Canonical List of Subtle Trope Distinctions. Items are sorted alphabetically by whichever trope is alphabetically first; if you're looking for one in specific, use the "Find" or "Search" function of your Web browser.


Self-Demonstrating Article v. Example as a Thesis

Senseless Sacrifice vs. Stupid Sacrifice

  • A Senseless Sacrifice is one that turns out to have been in vain. Often, it legitimately seemed like a good idea at the time.
  • A Stupid Sacrifice is when Fridge Logic sets in on a normal Heroic Sacrifice, and fans notice that there was another logical option that didn't involve the hero killing himself. Usually, the Stupid Sacrifice does achieve its goal; it's just rather inefficient about it.

Sharing a Body vs. Two Beings, One Body

Shirtless Scene vs. Walking Shirtless Scene

Sorting Algorithm of Deadness vs. Sorting Algorithm of Mortality

Spider-Sense vs. Super Reflexes vs. Super Speed

Staged Shooting vs Bait-and-Switch Gunshot

  • Staged Shooting: A character is apparently shot or executed, but the entire shooting was staged.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: A gunshot goes off, but the person who gets shot isn't who the audience was led to believe.

Staking the Loved One vs. Tragic Monster

Stalked by the Bell vs. Timed Mission

  • A Timed Mission is any arbitrary gameplay sequence with an attached timer, that triggers an immediate Game Over if it expires.
  • Stalked by the Bell doesn't trigger an immediate Game Over if the timer expires, but summons something in-game to harass/punish the player. It may or may not still be possible to complete the level with the added threat(s).

Subverted Kids Show vs. What Do You Mean, It's for Kids? vs. What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids? vs. What Do You Mean, It's Not For Little Girls?

Suicide Attack vs. Taking You with Me

  • Suicide Attack involves someone detonating themselves or a vehicle in a suicidal attack, which can be premeditated.
  • Taking You with Me involves someone who knows they are going down deciding to try and take their opponent with them.

That One Puzzle vs Moon Logic Puzzle vs Guide Dang It

  • That One Puzzle is a puzzle that is uncharacteristically difficult compare to the others. Expect forums to be flooded with "How do I solve X???" threads.
  • A Moon Logic Puzzle is one that requires Insane Troll Logic to solve, but still makes sense... if only in hindsight.
  • A Guide Dang It is one where, short of random guessing, the solution cannot reasonably be found without a guide.

Training Accident vs. Unwinnable Training Simulation

  • Training Accident is when the character think it's a drill, then that it isn't, then finds out it always was. The audience may or may not know; they might guess.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation is when the character can't win the scenario but aren't hurt.

Trope Codifier vs. Trope Maker vs. Trope Namer vs. Ur Example

  • The Ur Example is the first example of a trope.
  • The Trope Maker is the first well known and intentional use of the trope.
  • The Trope Codifier provides the template for all later uses of the trope.
  • The Trope Namer provides the name of the trope on this Wiki. Usually a well-known case, but sometimes it's unrelated to the actual trope; the name just fit best.
    • Note that any and all of these may overlap, but are sometimes entirely different; for example, Edgar Allan Poe invented the Detective Story, but Sherlock Holmes is the template everyone goes to when discussing such stories; however, Hamlet may be considered the Ur Example of the mystery detective, though, as he behaves exactly like a mystery detective in the early acts of his play.

Two Lines, No Waiting vs. Third Line, Some Waiting vs. Trapped by Mountain Lions vs. Four Lines, All Waiting

  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Several plotlines link together into one major plot.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: Like above, plus a very minor yet distinct plotline that doesn't become important until much later, if at all.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Like above, but the additional plotline most definitely has nothing to do with the main plot.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Several disjoint plots alternate within a single work.
    • The respective trope names are in no way indicative of the actual number of plotlines in any given example.

Undesirable Prize vs. Zonk

  • An Undesirable Prize is a bad prize that the producers thought was a good one.
  • A Zonk is a deliberately bad prize made to tell the player they've lost.

Unexpected Successor vs. You Are in Command Now

  • Unexpected Successor deals with people unexpectedly receiving political office or nobility, where the ascension is usually permanent and almost always the result of a single disastrous event or unscrupulous individual.
  • You Are in Command Now deals with military rank, where the ascension is usually temporary and sometimes occurs as the result of several coincidental deaths or removals.

Universe Bible vs. Universe Compendium vs. Universe Concordance vs. The Wiki Rule

The Unreveal vs. Fan-Disliked Explanation vs. Voodoo Shark

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? vs. The Stock Phrase of the Same Name

Word of God vs. Flip Flop of God vs. Shrug of God

  • Word of God is information straight from one or more of a work's creators about facets of the work that might not have appeared or been made clear.
  • Flip Flop of God is when a creator's information about a work contradicts itself. This may or may not be deliberate.
  • Shrug of God is when a creator's information about a work is evasive and/or ambiguous. This can be for a wide variety of reasons.

Word of God vs. Word of Saint Paul vs. Word of Dante vs. Word of Gay

  • Word of God is information about a work straight from one or more of its creators.
  • Word of Saint Paul is information about and/or interpretation of a work from someone who was closely associated with the creator(s) and/or involved with the production of the work.
  • Word of Dante is information about and/or interpretation of a work that's widely accepted as true although it's not actually in the work.
  • Word of Gay is when a character's sexuality is established or made clear outside the main story by the creator(s).


J-RCanonical List of Subtle Trope Distinctions    
J-RAdministrivia/Hyphenated TitlesAlec Douglas-Home

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