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A computer program or portion of a program that analyzes a string of characters in order to recognize grammatical units. Joseph Weizenbaum's Eliza (1966) and Terry Winograd's SHRDLU (c.1970) are two of the best-known early interactive programs that had parsers.

Early IF, including the original Adventure, used a two-word parser that only looked at the first few characters of each word. More recent IF parsers, following the lead of Zork, can understand longer words and more complex commands, but the genre is still a long way from using natural language processing to achieve complete understanding of all English inputs.

Modern IF programming languages include a parser as part of the authoring system, removing the need for the programmer to write a homebrew parser.