abbreviable actions applying to one thing or nothing?

While looking into Steelbeard’s question about Four Cheeses, I found this in the Standard Rules:

Listening to is an action applying to nothing or one thing and abbreviable.

I’ve never seen an action defined as “abbreviable” before, or the “applying to one thing or nothing.” “Abbreviable” isn’t in Writing with Inform either. Anyone know what this is?

Hmm, in 6L38 and 6L02 it seems to be

Listening to is an action applying to one thing and abbreviable.

while in 6G60 it’s

Listening to is an action applying to one thing.
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That is the only occurrence of “abbreviable” in the standard rules. But “nothing or one thing” is also used for the smelling action.

I tried declaring a custom action this way, and it compiled, so it looks as though this is may be a new feature not yet documented.

edit: perhaps “abbreviable” just means that you can write “instead of listening” instead of “instead of listening to”?

A quick test indicates that that’s correct. (But only for the bare action name. You can’t write “instead of listening the phone”.)

It’s not documented and it might never be documented.

I had thought that perhaps “applying to one thing or nothing” would mean that you don’t need the supplying a missing noun rules that go along with this:

Understand "listen" as listening to.

But they’re still needed. Hmmm.