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Playing With / Insistent Terminology

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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 immediate, no-holds-barred criticism.
  • Downplayed: Alice rolls her eyes when Bob calls a zebra a “striped horse,” but says nothing.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted: ???
  • 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.
  • Enforced: Alice and Bob have been getting along far too well thus far, so one of them needs to carry the Conflict Ball.
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  • 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 she finds disagreeable, but decides that job is best left to his teachers.
    • "You better hope that your insistence in correcting me is worth all of your fucking teeth." "...they are painted horses." "Good."
  • 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?
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  • 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!”
  • Implied: Bob says a particular word around Alice. In the next scene, he’s looking up that word in a dictionary while she glares down at him.
  • 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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