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§18.30. Clarifying the parser's choice of something
1. When it happens. When the player has typed an ambiguous noun reference, and Inform has made a decision about what was meant, and it matters what this decision is. (If the decision is between three identical gold coins, say, then it doesn't matter, and this activity does not take place.) There are a couple of limitations on this: the activity applies only to the first noun, and only if it's an object. So for a command like SELECT BLUE, where BLUE is a noun referring to a colour value, say, this activity isn't used. But the simple case where the activity does play a part is nevertheless very useful.
2. The default behaviour. Text in brackets such as "(the laminated mahogany box)" is printed, on its own line.
3. Examples. (a) In the following, asking to TAKE TOWER results in the parser choosing the souvenir model (because of the "does the player mean..." rule making the alternative unlikely), and then explaining itself by saying "(The little one, obviously.)" instead of "(the souvenir model Eiffel Tower)".
The Champs du Mars is a room. The great Eiffel Tower is here. "The great Tower stands high over you." The souvenir model Eiffel Tower is here. "Comparatively tiny is the souvenir version." The great Eiffel Tower is fixed in place. Does the player mean taking the great Eiffel Tower: it is very unlikely.
Rule for clarifying the parser's choice of the model tower: say "(The little one, obviously.)"
4. A note about actions. This activity takes place during the process of understanding the player's command, when the action that will take place is not fully known. So if the player types "TAKE SHOEBOX", this activity would happen when SHOEBOX is being examined for meaning. Inform knows that the action will be taking, but nothing else. That means attaching a proviso like "... while taking a container" to a rule for this activity will cause the rule to have no effect - whereas "... while taking" would be fine.