"Instead of doing something except..."

Hi again,

I’ve hit another wall trying to update my old games to the latest version of Inform 7. I have a line like this pretty often:

In the old version, this would mean that if the player tried do anything with the specified object apart from what I allowed, it would say the message. In the new version, however, it seems to interpret this line in a different way. The rule is executed if whatever the player is doing isn’t what that rule specifies.

So, for example, when I try to open a door in my game, it will just say “Blah blah” because I’m not examining pants. This happens even when the object in question can’t be seen! Is there a different way of handling this in the new version? Again, the documentation encourages the older method.

The keyword there is “to”.

Instead of doing anything except examining to the pants, say "Blah blah."

Ah, that did it, thanks! I guess I never thought of that because it sounds so grammatically incorrect.

You can also use “with” instead of “to”, if that sounds better with a particular verb*.
I think the grammatical idea is that the phrases are grouped together differently: since “examining to” doesn’t make sense in English, but “doing anything to” does, it has to be this:

Instead of (doing anything (except examining) to the pants)

instead of this.

Instead of (doing anything (except examining the pants))

*Technically there is a difference, but for examining it doesn’t matter.