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§17.12. This/that

We have already seen "or" used in "Understand" sentences:

Understand "scarlet" or "crimson" as red.

In general, any number of alternative forms can be given which are to be understood as the same thing (in this case the colour red). When the alternatives are in any way complicated, "or" should always be used, but a shorthand form is allowed for simple cases where it is only a matter of a single word having several possibilities:

Understand "reach underneath/under/beneath [something]" as looking under.

This is shorthand for:

Understand "reach underneath [something]" or "reach under [something]" or "reach beneath [something]" as looking under.

Which in turn is shorthand for:

Understand "reach underneath [something]" as looking under. Understand "reach under [something]" as looking under. Understand "reach beneath [something]" as looking under.

It's possible also to make that second word optional:

Understand "reach underneath/under/beneath/-- [something]" as looking under.

because "--" is read by Inform as "no word at all". If "--" is an option, it can only be given once and at the end of the list of possibilities.

To recapitulate: the slash "/" can only be used between single, literal words, and is best for the wayward prepositions of English ("in/into/inside", and so forth). For anything more complex, always use "or".

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