The idea is restyling the sidebar, and removing the verb buttons. There's still going to be a command pane, the places/object, inventory, and basket. But clicking a command name or a verb types it in the command bar; so the player would click a command and then the object, or vice versa. I'm thinking that the sidebar would be colour-coded. Commands/objects that are currently in the command bar would be highlighted in green. Commands that aren't compatible with the currently selected object would be in grey (but could still be entered if the player wishes).
Once a word is selected, you can click it again to enter the command. So for example, the player can double-click "look" to enter it as a command on its own, or click look and then an object to examine it. There would also be "enter" and "delete" icons to the right of the command bar. Some objects might have a default verb, which will automatically be selected. So double-clicking a painting will enter the command "Look at painting", while double-clicking a door might give you "Open door".
Under the inventory panes, there would be a pane where extra particles appear, such as "in", "on", or "and". These would be filled in automatically, but the player has the option of entering them if they prefer.
I think this would give the simplicity of Quest's GUI system, but feel more like a classic text adventure because you're clicking on objects to type them. It's also kind of inspired by the feel of the older Monkey Island games, where you could click on a verb and then an object, or vice versa, to compose a command. I was also thinking that the "take", "drop", and "put" commands could be entered by dragging objects between panes, but not so sure about that.
Do you think this would be intuitive for players? Are there any issues I might have missed?