Indefinite articles and disambiguation

This might be… obvious? Apologies if so.

I’m wondering about printed names during a Which do you mean question. Articles, in particular.

In the below example, I’ve assigned some fairly ridiculous articles to two things. In room descriptions and such, those custom articles display. However, when prompted to clarify my noun choice, they revert to “the.”

I guess, in some sense, our intent to act upon something strongly implies specificity, but I think “the” would not always be required for clarity. Anyway, I am wondering: can I push my own articles in disambiguation questions, or no?

In general, Inform lets you customize the indefinite article (“a”, “an”, “some”, “your”…), but not the definite one. The definite one is always “the” for improper-named things and nothing for proper-named ones.

I think the idea is that anything that should print in both definite and indefinite contexts should be part of the name; the article should just be the part that varies. Adjectives like “really red” can go in a substitution in the printed name property, or a “before printing the name of” rule, etc.

These examples are admittedly ridiculous for visibility’s sake. I wouldn’t recommend putting the names of things in articles. I’m curious about things getting assigned definite articles during Which do you mean questions. That seems to be what happens.

“some water” becomes “the water”
“a widget” becomes “the widget”

Rhetorically, I can see why that would be the design. I’m just wondering if there’s a way around it besides giving proper names to things.

See related discussion at Custom indefinite article when asking which do you mean?.

In short:

  • disambiguation questions are produced by I6 routine NounDomain()
  • the definite article is always used unless one of a group of identical objects will suffice
  • modification of the articles used by “asking which do you mean…” requires changes to NounDomain()

ayup, that’ll do it.

I have a weird case where maybe I can get away with changing from proper- to improper-named when a certain point is reached. Thanks

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