Uncle Oren is a person in the Shore. The printed name is "uncle Oren". The description is "[orens_descr]." Understand "man" as uncle Oren.
Two questions, one of which is surely trivial and the other will surely prove to be (as usual):
Why do I have to make that Understand rule? If I type “x man”, Inform says “You can’t see etc.”— while the PRONOUNS test gives an “him” for uncle Oren.
I’ve set the printed name “uncle Oren” 'cause I feel “You can see Uncle Oren here.” as terribly wrong. Too bad, if I do something else, the answer is (sic and i.e.) “uncle Oren does xxx”, with the first letter in lowercase.
How do I work around this (I mean the second question, the first works: it’s just for polish’s sake)
As for 1, Inform doesn’t automatically understand things by their kind name (see point #7 in 4.17 - “Review of Chapter 4: Kinds”). However, even if it did, that wouldn’t have affected your code since you made Oren a “person” rather than a “man” – a (sub)kind of person. The reason the parser recognizes Oren as “him” is unrelated; the person kind has a gender property and it just so happens the default for that is masculine. Therefore, when Oren gets mentioned by the game, he’s set as the default object for parsing the pronoun “him.”
If you mean having the parser automatically understand “man” as uncle Oren, then no, Inform doesn’t automatically understand any kinds by their internal name. The way “around” it is to manually add the understand phrases:
Understand "man" as a man.
Understand "woman" as a woman.
Now the player can refer to any man or a woman in the game as MAN or WOMAN.
Just a note that as a native American English speaker, “You can see Uncle Oren here” seems correct to me with the capital U. When “Uncle” or “Aunt” is used as part of the name, I capitalize it; so “You can see Uncle Oren here,” but “You can see your uncle Oren here.” Consider the way that Cousin Itt from the Addams family always gets a capital C.
I think that in “Uncle Oren,” “Uncle” is functioning almost as a title, and so is capitalized, as Kevin has stated, as effectively part of the name. In “your uncle Oren,” it performs a different function – almost as an adjective modifying “Oren” – so Capmikee is correct that upper-case would be inappropriate for that usage.
Robert Rothman (self-proclaimed head of the language police)
Right. In this case, “Oren” is an appositive noun, and it’s being used restrictively. That is, if you only have one uncle, then “your uncle, Oren, is standing here” would be correct, but the commas are often omitted around short appositives of this sort. However, if you have two or more uncles, then “your uncle Oren is standing here” would be the only correct punctuation. “Uncle” is capitalized when it’s part of a noun of address, as in, “Hey, Uncle Oren – want a snack?”
Similarly, “I saw Mother this morning,” or “I saw my mother this morning.” Both are correct, and changing the capitalization in either sentence would be wrong.