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  1. Home
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  3. Virtual Assistants
  4. How Tos
  5. Entity Rules

Entity Rules

Validating user input before processing goes a long way in improving the bot’s efficiency and user experience. While the entity type does impose some basic restrictions, these are not always sufficient and does not cater to the specific business requirements. Entity rules can be used for additional processing hints and validations.

Entity rules can be added from the Entity Rules section under Instance Properties of the corresponding entity. Add the rule in the JSON editor provided, see here for how.

These rules can also be set in the script for an entity, in such cases, the rule needs to be set before the entity prompt in the dialog flow. Add a script node at the beginning of the dialog or just before the concerned entity node with the following script:

context.entityRules.<entityName> = {
      "ruleName": "value"
   }

Subentity rules can be part of the composite entity rules:

context.entityRules.<compositeEntityName> = {
    <subentityName> : { 
      "ruleName": "value"
     }
   }

Below are the entity rules that can be entered in the JSON editor for the required entity or included as ruleName in the above script. We are continuously improving and updating this list. Any feedback or suggestions, kindly post in the community forum and our developers will accommodate it, if feasible.

Generic rules

ruleName Value Description
processLatestSentence true/false To restrict checking to the sentences only from the current volley.

Example

{
 "processLatestSentence": <true/false>
}
patternsOnly true/false To restrict matching to an entity pattern alone. By default, if the given entity patterns do not result in the extraction of entity value, the platform tries to find a value from user utterance. Setting this rule to true will disable that default processing.

Example

{
"patternsOnly": <true/false>
}
allowConfirmation true/false The extracted entity value is presented to the user after each input and the flow would continue only after confirmation from the user. Currently, this rule is applicable only for LoV enumerated entity types.

Example

{
"allowConfirmation": <true/false>
}
confirmYesSynonyms <concept names> Additional words/phrases to be used to confirm an entity value.
Used in conjunction with allowConfirmation rule mentioned above.

Example

{
"confirmYesSynonyms": ["~concept1", "~concept2"]
}

where concept1: ok;
concept2: affirmative

confirmNoSynonyms <concept names> Additional words/phrases to be used to cancel a confirmation entity. If selected/uttered, the entity value will be set to null
Used in conjunction with allowConfirmation rule mentioned above.

Example

{
"confirmNoSynonyms": ["~concept2", "~concept3"]
}

where concept1: nope;
concept2: wrong

String type entity

Description entity type

ruleName Value Description
discardAsCommand

Concept Name: ~bot_commands_override_discard

Synonyms: abort, abort_all, cancel, clear_screen, discard, discard all, exit, exit_all, quit, quit_all, restart, start_over, startover, stop, stop_all

If the rule is set to true, then the discard commands entered at a string entity node are not considered as valid string inputs, and the task gets discarded.
stripLeading <concept name>

To remove the words given in the concept from the start of the extracted string.

The concept can be a single concept name or a space-separated list of concepts or an array of concept names.

Example

JSON

{ "stripLeading": [ 
      "~stringConcept" 
    ]
}

stringConcept:  city

Entity Pattern: I like *

User UtteranceI like city New York
Extracted Value New York

stripTrailing <concept name>

To remove words in a concept from the end of the extracted string.

The value can be a single concept name or a space-separated list of concepts or an array of concept names.

Example

JSON

{ "stripTrailing":
    "~stringConcept ~stringConcept1"
 }

stringConcept:  city; stringConcept1:  airport

Entity Pattern: I like *

User UtteranceI like New York city” or “I like New York airport
Extracted Value New York

avoidSingleWord <concept name>

To ignore any value that is a member of the concept, unless it is the entire input.

The value can be a single concept name or a space-separated list of concepts or an array of concept names.

Example

JSON

{
  "avoidSingleWord": 
      "~stringConcept"
}

stringConcept:  chess, cricket

Entity Pattern: like to watch * tournament

User UtteranceI like to watch chess tournament
Extracted Value prompt for entity value

User Utterance I like to watch golf tournament
Extracted Value golf

User Utterancecricket
Extracted Value cricket, since it is the entire input

avoidSingleVerb true If set to true, then any value that is just a verb is ignored, unless it is the entire input.
Example

JSON

{
"avoidSingleVerb": true
}

Entity Pattern: I like * music

User UtteranceI like playing music
Extracted Value prompt for entity value

User UtteranceI like rap music
Extracted Value rap

User Utteranceplay
Extracted Value play, since it is the entire input

extractOnlyNumbers true if true, the entity will extract only numbers present in the string and set it as the entity value
Example

JSON

{
"extractOnlyNumbers": true
}

Number type entity

ruleName Value Description
asString true To capture a number as a string, preserving leading zeros
Example

JSON

{
  "asString": true
}

Entity Pattern – by default numeric entries

User Utterance “OTP is 009944
Extracted Value009944″
without the rule, it would have been “9944”

digits single number
Or
a range of values
To enforce a number of digits to match in a Number entity. This rule will not ignore leading zeros. The word(s) matched are composed of that many digits after NL processing. When a range is provided for the rule, it passes only if the utterance value matches within that valid range
Example

JSON

{
  "digits": 3
}

Entity Pattern – Numeric or string entries

User Utterance “CVV is 034
Extracted Value034″
The value is a match as the digits = 3. If the value of the digits is 2, then it would be a no match in this example.

JSON

{
  "digits": 13-17
}

Entity Pattern – Numeric or string entries

User Utterance “My credit card number is 4012 8888 8888 1881″
Extracted Value4012 8888 8888 1881″
It is a match as the number of digits in the credit card number is 16, and within the range.

Note: The presence of the digits rule is an implicit asString=true and integerOnly=true, which means the entity value is always returned as a string even if the number is short and does not have a leading zero. Floating point/decimal numbers and ordinals (For example, “first”, “twenty-third”) are not matched.
 
The rule does not split a word or number. For example, if the utterance is “two thousand and twenty three” and the rule is "digits": 3, then it is a no match. The utterance “twenty twenty three” would also be a no match. The rule should be "digits": 4 for all the inputs to match.

Currency type entity

ruleName Value Description
defaultCode <currency code>
or
<country code>
If no code is mentioned in user input, this value will be picked as code.
The value needs to be a 3 letter currency code or two-letter country alpha-2 codes.
Example

JSON

{
  "defaultCode": "NZD"
}

Entity Pattern pay *

User Utterance Pay 30
Extracted ValueNZD30

User Utterance Pay USD30
Extracted ValueUSD30

maxDigits <number> To restrict the amount length. If the amount length exceeds the value it will be discarded.
Example

JSON

{
  "maxDigits":[
    "3"
   ]
}

Entity Pattern pay *

User Utterance Pay USD30
Extracted ValueUSD30

User Utterance Pay USD3000
Extracted Value prompt for value

currencyCodes [<currency code>,<currency code>]
or
[<country code>,<country code>]
To restrict the currency codes. If the user entered code is not in the given list then the value will be discarded.
Example

JSON

{
  "currencyCodes": [
    "USD",
    "INR",
    "NZD"
  ]
}

Entity Pattern pay *

User Utterance Pay USD30
Extracted ValueUSD30

User Utterance Pay AUD30
Extracted Value prompt for a value

ignoreOnlyCode <true/false>

If the value is true, the currency entity requires both the currency code/symbol AND the amount. Otherwise, the entered value is unaccepted, resulting in an error message displayed to the user.

If the value is false, the currency entity accepts the currency code or symbol even without the amount.

Example

JSON

{
  "ignoreOnlyCode": true  
}

In a scenario where the rule is set to true:

Entity Pattern pay *

User Utterance Pay USD30
Extracted ValueUSD30

User Utterance Pay AUD
VA Response: I apologize, I did not recognize the currency you entered. Please enter the currency you would like to use. An example of currency is $ 100.

PersonName type entity

ruleName Value Description
disablePatterns An array of person name patterns to ignore – currently supporting only “possessive To disable patterns in extracting a person’s name when not applicable in specific scenarios.
Example

JSON

{
  "disablePatterns": [
    "possessive"
  ]
}

Entity Pattern – by default capitalized words

User Utterance “schedule Bob’s review at 9 am”
Extracted ValueBob

ignoreWords <concept name>

Words in the concept are not to be considered as names even when capitalized.

The concept name could be a space-separated list of concepts or an array of concepts.

Example

JSON

{
  "ignoreWords": [
    "review",
    "~prepositionList"
  ]
}

Entity Pattern – by definition capitalized words

User Utterance “meeting for Bob Review”
Extracted ValueBob
would have been “Bob Review” without the rule

negativePatterns array of patterns Person names can be general capitalized words, or a name can be used in a sense where it is not meant to be taken as a person.
Example

JSON

{
  "negativePatterns": [
    "about *"
  ]
}

Entity Pattern – by definition capitalized words

User Utterance “schedule a meeting about Philip with Fred”
Extracted ValueFred
would have been “Philip” without the rule

Company type entity

ruleName Value Description
ignoreWords <concept name>

Words in the concept are not to be considered as companies even when capitalized.

The concept name could be a space-separated list of concepts or an array of concepts.

Example

JSON

{
  "ignoreWords": [
    "atm"
  ]
}

Entity Pattern – by definition capitalized words

User Utterance “find ATM”
Extracted Value none
would have been “ATM” (an Italian company) without the rule

negativePatterns An array of company name patterns to ignore To disable patterns in extracting a company name when not applicable in specific scenarios.

Date type entity

ruleName Value Description
range { “from” : <from-date>, “to” : <to-date> }

To extract dates only in the specified range. Either endpoint is optional.

Values can be a date, YYYY-MM-DD, or a keyword: today, tomorrow, yesterday. The dates are inclusive.

Example

JSON

{
"range": {
   "from": "2020-01-01",
   "to": "today"
  }
}

Entity Pattern – by default date patterns

User Utterance “show schedule for 2019-02-03”
Extracted Value prompt for a value

User Utterance “show schedule for tomorrow”
Extracted Value prompt for a value

User Utterance “show schedule  for 2020-02-03”
Extracted Value “2020-02-03”

referenceDate <date>

Sets the reference date to <date> and any date calculation to set the current date entity value is based on that date.

Values should be a date, YYYY-MM-DD, or a keyword: today, tomorrow, yesterday.

Example

JSON

{
  "referenceDate": "2020-07-09"
}

Entity Pattern – by default date patterns

User Utterance “schedule after two days”
Extracted Value “2020-07-11”
would have been two days from the current date without the reference date

preferredDateFormat “yyyy-mm-dd” In case of ambiguity in date, it uses the preferred date format to resolve ambiguity.
Values can be:

  • “yyyy-mm-dd”
  • “yyyy-dd-mm”
  • “dd-mm-yyyy”
  • “mm-dd-yyyy”
Example

JSON

{
  "preferredDateFormat": "mm-dd-yyyy"
}
User Utterance “03-04-2021”
Extracted Value “2021-03-04”
NOTE: This rule only applies when there is an ambiguity in the user utterance. If the user’s preference is already set as part of a previous conversation, then the user selected format would take precedence over the defined rule
For example, a per the previous use case, if the user had selected the preferred format to be “dd-mm-yyy” previously in the conversation then the date would be taken as “2021-04-03”
returnOnlyMonthYear <true/false> When set to true, the platform would capture the month and year alone from the user input and update the context object accordingly. Even if the user gives a full input (like 20 Oct 2019), the system would only take Oct 2019 from that input. The user will not be prompted for the date if not provided
Example

JSON

{
  "returnOnlyMonthYear": true
}
User Utterance “03-04-2021”
Extracted Value “04-2021”User Utterance “Apr 2021”
Extracted Value “04-2021”

Date Period type entity

ruleName Value Description
range { “from” : <from-date>, “to” : <to-date> }

To extract dates in the specified range. Either endpoint is optional.

Values can be a date, YYYY-MM-DD, or a keyword: today, tomorrow, yesterday. The dates are inclusive.

Example

JSON

{
"range": {
   "from": "2020-01-01",
   "to": "today"
  }
}

Entity Pattern – by default date patterns

User Utterance “show schedule for 2019-02-03”
Extracted Value prompt for a value

User Utterance “show schedule for tomorrow”
Extracted Value prompt for a value

User Utterance “show schedule  for 2020-02-03”
Extracted Value “2020-02-03”

range with strict { “from” : <from-date>, “to” : <to-date>,
“strict”: <true/false> }

If the value is true, the Date Period entity accepts values that are strictly in the defined date range.
If the value is false, the Date Period entity accepts values that are in the range or overlapping with the range.

Examples

JSON

{
"range": {
   "from": "2022-01-01",
   "to": "2023-03-05",
   "strict" = "true"
  }
}

User Utterance: “2022-05-05 – 2022-06-05”
Expected Value: “Selected date range”
(The user utterance is within the defined date range. As strict is true, any value strictly in the defined date range is a valid input and is accepted.)

User Utterance: “2021-05-05 – 2022-05-05”
Extracted Value: “I’m sorry, I am unable to recognize the string. Please enter again.”
(The user utterance is not strictly in the defined date range, it’s overlapping. As strict is true, any overlapping input is an invalid input and is rejected with an error.)

JSON

{
"range": {
   "from": "2022-01-01",
   "to": "2023-03-05",
   "strict" = "false"
  }
}
User Utterance: “2021-05-05 – 2022-05-05”
Expected Value: “Selected date range”
(The user utterance is overlapping with the defined date range. As strict is false, any overlapping input is a valid input and is accepted.)
referenceDate <date>

Sets the reference date to <date> and any date calculation to set the current date entity value is based on that date.

Values should be a date, YYYY-MM-DD, or a keyword: today, tomorrow, yesterday.

Example

JSON

{
  "referenceDate": "2020-07-09"
}

Entity Pattern – by default date patterns

User Utterance “schedule after two days”
Extracted Value “2020-07-11”

tense past/future

To adjust the date period based on the tense when the year is not present in the user utterance.

Without this rule, the year is set as the current year if the month/day falls within 90 days from the current date else it would be set to the previous year. With this rule, you can force the year to current or past.

Example

JSON

{
 "tense": "past"
}

Entity Pattern – by default date patterns

User Utterance “get the statement for Jan”
Extracted Value “2020-01-01” if the current date is “2020-15-12”
without the rule, it would have been “2021-01-01”

 

preferredDateFormat “yyyy-mm-dd”

In case of ambiguity in date, it uses the preferred date format to resolve ambiguity.
Values can be:

  • “yyyy-mm-dd”
  • “yyyy-dd-mm”
  • “ddmmyyyy”
  • “mmddyyyy”
Example

JSON

{
  "preferredDateFormat": "mm-dd-yyyy"
}
User Utterance “03-04-2021”
Extracted Value “2021-03-04”
NOTE: This rule only applies when there is an ambiguity in the user utterance. If the user’s preference is already set as part of a previous conversation, then the user selected format would take precedence over the defined rule
For example, a per the previous use case, if the user had selected the preferred format to be “dd-mm-yyy” previously in the conversation then the date would be taken as “2021-04-03”

DateTime type entity

ruleName Value Description
range { “from” : <from-datetime>, “to” : <to-datetime> }

To extract date-times only in the specified range. Either endpoint is optional.

Values can be a date, YYYY-MM-DD, or a DateTime, YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS (user’s timezone is assumed if none specified) or a keyword: today, tomorrow, yesterday, now. The dates are inclusive.

Example

JSON

{
  "range": {
    "from": "2020-01-01T00:00:00+05:30",
    "to": "2020-10-01T00:00:00+05:30"
  }
}

Entity Pattern – by default date time patterns

User Utterance “set alarm for 2019-02-03T10:00:00”
Extracted Value prompt for a value

User Utterance “show schedule for 2021-12-20T10:00:00”
Extracted Value prompt for a value

User Utterance “show schedule  for 2020-02-03 T10:00:00”
Extracted Value “2020-02-03T10:00:00”

preferredTimes { “from” : <from-time>,
“to” : <to-time> }

To set the preferred time which can be used to interpret times when they are ambiguous. These times would be applicable to all days of the week.

For example, “3” will become “3 pm” if the preferredTimes are 9 am to 6 pm.

If the time cannot be placed inside the range then it will pick am/pm based on which is closest. If there are two possibilities or equal distance then the “daylight/standard awake” hours will be used. The times should be ISO 8601 format, THH:MM

{ “from” : [],
“to” : [] }
This option is for setting preferred times different for different days of the week. The “from” and “to” keys can be arrays with 7 members representing the time for each day, from Sunday to Saturday. Each value should be in the in Thh:MM format or an empty string to indicate there is no preference.
{ “favor” : <keyword> } The “favor” keyword can be used to set the preference in terms of “future”, “past”, “am”, or “pm”.
Example

JSON

 "preferredTimes": {
    "from": "T12:00:00",
    "to": "T18:00:00"
  }

Entity Pattern – by default date patterns

User Utterance “remind me at 3”
Extracted Value “T15:00:00”

JSON

 "preferredTimes": {
    "from": [
      "", "T09:00", 
      "T09:00", "T21:00", 
      "T21:00", "T07:00", ""
    ],
    "to": [
      "", "T18:00",
      "T18:00", "T06:00", 
      "T06:00", "T16:00", ""
    ]
  }

Entity Pattern – by default date patterns

User Utterance “remind me at 3”
Extracted Value “T15:00:00”, if the current day is Monday/Tuesday/Friday;
“T03:00:00”, if the current day is Wednesday/Thursday

JSON

 "preferredTimes": {
    "favor": "pm"
  }

Entity Pattern – by default date patterns

User Utterance “remind me at 3”
Extracted Value “T15:00:00”

timeRangePossible true/false

If true then the dialog will be looking for time range in the user input.

Influences how “10 to 4” is interpreted. By default, this will be “3:50” but if there is the possibility of a range then will be decoded as 2 times “10:00” and “16:00”

Example

JSON

{
"timeRangePossible": "true"
}

 

 

preferredDateFormat “yyyy-mm-dd” In case of ambiguity in date, it uses the preferred date format to resolve ambiguity.
Values can be:

  • “yyyy-mm-dd”
  • “yyyy-dd-mm”
  • “ddmmyyyy”
  • “mmddyyyy”
Example

JSON

{
  "preferredDateFormat": "mm-dd-yyyy"
}
User Utterance “03-04-2021”
Extracted Value “2021-03-04”
NOTE: This rule only applies when there is an ambiguity in the user utterance. If the user’s preference is already set as part of a previous conversation, then the user selected format would take precedence over the defined rule
For example, a per the previous use case, if the user had selected the preferred format to be “dd-mm-yyy” previously in the conversation then the date would be taken as “2021-04-03”

Time type entity

ruleName Value Description
preferredTimes { “from” : <from-time>,
“to” : <to-time> }

To set the preferred time which can be used to interpret times when they are ambiguous. These times would be applicable to all days of the week.

For example, “3” will become “3 pm” if the preferredTimes are 9 am to 6 pm.

If the time cannot be placed inside the range then it will pick am/pm based on which is closest. If there are two possibilities or equal distance then the “daylight/standard awake” hours will be used. The times should be ISO 8601 format, THH:MM

{ “from” : [],
“to” : [] }
This option is for setting preferred times different for different days of the week. The “from” and “to” keys can be arrays with 7 members representing the time for each day, from Sunday to Saturday. Each value should be in the in Thh:MM format or an empty string to indicate there is no preference.
{ “favor” : <keyword> } The “favor” keyword can be used to set the preference in terms of “future”, “past”, “am”, or “pm”.
Example

JSON

 "preferredTimes": {
    "from": "T12:00:00",
    "to": "T18:00:00"
  }

Entity Pattern – by default date patterns

User Utterance “remind me at 3”
Extracted Value “T15:00:00”

JSON

 "preferredTimes": {
    "from": [
      "", "T09:00", 
      "T09:00", "T21:00", 
      "T21:00", "T07:00", ""
    ],
    "to": [
      "", "T18:00",
      "T18:00", "T06:00", 
      "T06:00", "T16:00", ""
    ]
  }

Entity Pattern – by default date patterns

User Utterance “remind me at 3”
Extracted Value “T15:00:00”, if the current day is Monday/Tuesday/Friday;
“T03:00:00”, if the current day is Wednesday/Thursday

JSON

 "preferredTimes": {
    "favor": "pm"
  }

Entity Pattern – by default date patterns

User Utterance “remind me at 3”
Extracted Value “T15:00:00”

timeRangePossible true/false If true then the dialog will be looking for time range in the user input.
Example

JSON

{
“timeRangePossible”: “true”
}

Influences how utterances like “10 to 4” is interpreted. By default, this will be “3:50” but if there is the possibility of a range then will be decoded as 2 separate time values “10:00” and “16:00”
range { “from” : now,
}
or
{ “to” : now
}

To extract date-times only in the specified range. Either endpoint is optional.

Currently, support is extended to the value “now” alone

Example

JSON

{
  "range": {
    "from": now
  }
}

City type entity

ruleName Value Description
ignoreWords <concept name>

For the words in the concept not to be considered as cities.

The concept name could be a space-separated list of concepts or an array of concepts or space-separated strings.

Example

JSON

{
  "ignoreWords": "Send"
}

Entity Pattern – by default capitalized words

User Utterance “Send destination to my email”
Extracted Value prompt for entity value, without the rule it would have been “Send” since it is a city name

Zip Code type entity

ruleName Value Description
preferredCountries [<“country1”>,<“country2”>,..]

To restrict zip code from the given set of preferred countries along with the user location country and the gleaned countries from the input.

Need to add two-letter country alpha-2 codes in place of
<“country1”>,<“country2”>,…

Example

JSON

{
  "preferredCountries": [
    "GB"
  ]
}

Entity Pattern – by default zip code patterns

User Utterance “check delivery to PO16 7GZ
Extracted ValuePO16 7GZ“, without the rule this might have been ignored if the user is not in the UK region

Location type entity

ruleName Value Description
preferredCountries [<“country1”>,<“country2”>,..]

To restrict location from the given set of preferred countries along with the user location country and the gleaned countries from the input.

Need to add two-letter country alpha-2 codes in place of
<“country1”>,<“country2”>,…

Example

JSON

{
  "preferredCountries": [
    "GB"
  ]
}

List of Values (LoV) type entity

ruleName Value Description
ignoreLemmaWords true/
false
If ignoreLemmaWords is true, lemmatization is not performed on the given user input in the LoV lookup entity to predict the output. If it is set to false, lemmatization is performed.
Example

JSON

{
"ignoreLemmaWords": false
}

{ "ignoreLemmaWords": true }

Input Options – “ticket”, “tickets”.”

User Utterance “I need a ticket,” “I need tickets.”

Extracted Value When ignoreLemmaWords is set to false, the LoV entity extracts “ticket” for both the inputs – “ticket” and “tickets”.
When it is set to true, the entity extracts “ticket” only when the input contains “ticket”. For a different input like “tickets”, the bot responds that it is not a valid option.

List of Items (enum) type entity

ruleName Value Description
ownership include/
exclude
To look for potential “ownership” phrasing, e.g. “is mine” to determine if a potential choice should be included or excluded from the entity value.
Examples of ownership phrases are “is mine”, “belongs to me”, etc.
Example

JSON

{
  "ownership": "include"
}

Input Options – Pick your item: “pen”, “watch”, “bottle”, “book”, “cap”

User Utterance “first two are mine”
Extracted Value [“pen”, “watch”]

JSON

{
  "ownership": "exclude"
}

Input Options – Pick your item: “pen”, “watch”, “bottle”, “book”, “cap”

User Utterance “first two are mine”
Extracted Value [“bottle”, “book”, “cap”], since the rule is to exclude the ownership values.

includeWords <concept name> or array of words The list of words that supplement to the ownership phrases.
The value can be an array of strings or a concept.To be used along with ownership: include rule
Example

JSON

{
  "ownership": "include",
  "includeWords": "great"
}

Input Options – Pick your item: “pen”, “watch”, “bottle”, “book”, “cap”

User Utterance “first two are mine”
Extracted Value [“pen”, “watch”]

User Utterance “first two are great”
Extracted Value [“pen”, “watch”]

excludeWords <concept name> or array of words The list of words that can be used as non-ownership phrases.
The value can be an array of strings or a concept. To be used along with ownership: exclude rule
Example

JSON

{
  "ownership": "exclude",
   "excludeWords": "~lovConcept"
}
Input Options – Pick your item: “pen”, “watch”, “bottle”, “book”, “cap”
lovConcept – dubiousUser Utterance “first two are dubious”
Extracted Value [“bottle”, “book”, “cap”]
noIndexMatch true To disable the alphabet and number Index match, would not allow the user to select the items using an index.
Example

JSON

{
  "noIndexMatch": "true"
}

Input Options – Pick your item: “pen”, “watch”, “bottle”, “book”, “cap”

User Utterance a
Extracted Value prompt for input, without the rule it would have been [“pen”]

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