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Trope Distinctions / S to Z

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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.

Pages: A — C | D — F | G — I | J — R | S — Z

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Saying Too Much vs. Too Much Information

  • In Saying Too Much, a character blabs too much about a secret or other plot-sensitive information.
  • In Too Much Information, someone is Squicked by hearing someone talk about something they really didn't want to know about, like a person's sex life or bodily functions.

Secret Keeper vs. Secret Secret-Keeper

  • Secret Keeper is when a character holds a secret, and someone close to this character knows it, like a superhero who has a Secret Identity, tells about it to his family, best friend or his girlfriend, and they promise to not tell that to anyone else.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper is a character discovers this secret, but pretends to be oblivious, making that another secret, like a character finding out the secret identity of the superhero by accident, but the superhero still thinks no one knows it.

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

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

  • A 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.


The Chosen Zero vs. The Poorly Chosen One

Tempting Fate vs. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Training "Accident" vs. Unwinnable Training Simulation

  • A 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.
  • An Unwinnable Training Simulation is when the character can't win the scenario but isn't hurt.

Trope Codifier vs. Trope Maker vs. Trope Namer vs. Ur-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 rub the loss in the player's face.

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

Unwinnable vs. Unwinnable by Design vs. Unwinnable by Insanity vs. Unwinnable by Mistake vs. Unwinnable Joke Game:

  • Unwinnable: Super-Trope for situations where it becomes impossible to win a game.
    • Unwinnable by Design: In this case, the devs designed it so that choices you made early make it impossible to finish now without finding a way to undo those things.
    • Unwinnable by Insanity: In this case, a series of actions that most people would never do normally can make it impossible to finish. If you asked the devs to fix this, they would probably just ask why you were doing this anyway.
    • Unwinnable by Mistake: In this case, the devs made a mistake. A glitch or something similar renders the game unbeatable. This may only occur under certain conditions, but the point is that it wasn't supposed to.
    • Unwinnable Joke Game: In this case, the game is designed to be unbeatable whatever you do. It's a joke, rather than a mistake.


Vitriolic Best Buds vs. With Friends Like These...

  • Vitriolic Best Buds are genuinely good friends who express their affection for each other through insults, fighting, etc.
  • With Friends Like These... describes the relationship of two so-called "friends" who really just despise each other.


What the Hell, Hero? vs. What the Hell, Player?

With Friends Like These... vs. Who Needs Enemies?

Although similarly named, the two are actually the inverses of one another:

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

  • Word of Dante is information about and/or interpretation of a work that's widely accepted as true, but does not originate from the work or anyone involved in its creation.
  • Word of Gay is when the creator(s) establish or clarify a character's sexuality outside the main story.
  • 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.


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