Inform 7 Home Page / Documentation
§7.10. The noun and the second noun
Once we begin applying rules to actions which are not entirely known in advance, we have a problem: there's no way to find out what specifically is happening. Consider the following:
Instead of examining something, say "It is none of your concern!"
This is fine as far as it goes, but clumsy. What if the player had examined a human being? Then "it" would be inappropriate. A better approach would be this:
Instead of examining something, say "[The noun] is none of your concern!"
The "noun" and, when necessary, the "second noun" are values which can be used in any rule about actions, and it follows that they can also be substituted into text, as this example demonstrates. Results might include:
Lady Bracknell is none of your concern!
The silver cigarette case is none of your concern!
This seems a good moment to mention that if you use "The" in a substitution, then a capitalised "The" will be used so long as this is grammatically correct (Lady Bracknell, as a proper noun, takes no article); "the" becomes a lower-case "the" along the same lines; and "a" a lower-case indefinite article.
Instead of examining something in the Drawing Room, say "Under Lady Bracknell's eye, you feel constrained. Besides, it is only [a noun]."
|Start of Chapter 7: Basic Actions|
|Back to §7.9. All actions and exceptional actions|
|Onward to §7.11. In rooms and regions|
In emulation of a certain annoying aspect of the original Adventure, in which there is a Ming vase that cannot safely be dropped:
We could also implement an additional refinement from Adventure, that a fragile thing is safe if dropped when there is a cushion nearby.
In this rule, the pillow is the second noun; if we had a general rule about setting fragile things on soft things, we could say "You set [the noun] down gently on [the second noun]." for the same effect.
If we wanted to be more refined, we would provide extra code so that breaking a container or a supporter would leave behind their contents. We will see how to do that later.