How To Deal with Intricate Text

If you use writing apps like Grammarly to help with your writing, you may have encountered something called intricate text that Grammarly issues an alert for. Other writing apps have similar notifications, they just call them differently – readability or something similar. First, let’s define what it is, and then we’ll get to how to fix it (or should you, for that matter).

What is Intricate Text?

The short answer is – intricate text is a text that is complex and hard to understand. Now, you may ask: Hard to understand for whom? We can’t tell you. The exact rules that Grammarly’s algorithm uses to determine intricate text are not clear.

Generally, it indicates that sentences are overly long, have too many subordinate clauses, use the passive voice, contain lots of adjectives and adverbs, use an inverted sentence structure, lots of punctuations, etc. For example:

We can use Charles Barkley as an example, as he was below average in height for his position; yet, there is a reason he was called the Round Mound of Rebound, as even with his height disadvantage he was capable of dominating a game with his positioning and athleticism.

Is this sentence overly complicated for you? Grammarly will flag it as hard to read and if you use a similar writing style throughout your text, it will mark certain parts of it as intricate text.

What to do with Intricate Text?

You can make shorter, clearer sentences and write in that style. You can make this sentence:

Get me those exquisite, creamy doughnuts and, while you’re at it, try not to annoy the lunch lady as you always do, please; if you do, leave them on the table and best pretend like you don’t know me.

Into several simpler ones:
Get me the doughnuts. Don’t annoy the lunch lady, please. If you do, leave them on the table and act like you don’t know me.

But, should you do it? Intricate text is a stylistic guideline and not a grammatical rule (or any kind of rule, for that matter). In case you prefer to use longer, more complex sentences, don’t feel obligated to simplify your writing. It is your style, after all.

The Choice is Yours

Intricate text is the digital version of your teacher telling you to use shorter and clearer sentences. Should you do it? Possibly. Do you have to do it? No. Unless your teacher or boss demands that you write in a specific way, write in the way you find most pleasing.

Have you ever read anything by José Saramago? His every sentence is an intricate text by itself, and he still won the Nobel Prize for Literature. What we want to say is – write in the style that suits you best.

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