More thoroughly highlight the way Inform understands "the" in the documentation.
Sometimes it seems as though the single most common cause of bugs is the way Inform understands "the" as "a." New authors write something like "Instead of examining a computer: If the computer is switched on..." and are confused because that actually checks whether any computer is switched on.
Since this error is so common, perhaps the behavior should be highlighted more in the documentation? I'm pretty sure that it's addressed somewhere, but it seems like perhaps it should be brought up many places and highlighted more prominently as a warning. For instance, one case in which this happens is when the author writes "the room" when they mean "the location"; there could be a warning about this when "the location" is introduced in 3.25. Another common occurrence is writing "the computer" instead of "the noun," so the problem can be documented again in 7.10 where "the noun" and "the second noun" are introduced.
The incorrect use of The is now checked against by the compiler, so this shouldn’t be able to occur any more.
Adminemshort (Admin, Inform 7) commented
Inclined to think that no amount of documentation will actually call the author's attention to it at the right moments, and we may be better off, if possible, implementing http://inform7.uservoice.com/forums/57320-general/suggestions/754190-syntax-flag-the-kind-as-an-error?ref=title
Yes, it'd be great if this resulted in either an error message or was applied more intuitively.As a fallback, documenting it more prominently would be a plus too.
Ron Newcomb commented
I'm inclined just to ask for "the <kind>" as a variable, quietly filled in by Descriptions and whatnot. In other words, actually implement something so Problem messages can shepard the author to the [Twue] Inform Way.