One of the lovely things about modern technology is that it makes once-tiresome tasks a piece of cake.
Don’t like talking on the phone? You can text someone!
Don’t like writing long messages? Twitter is great for that!
Sometimes, though, technology can hinder almost as much as it helps. While online grammar checker Grammarly is a great tool, it sometimes is less than helpful.
What is “intricate text” in Grammarly?
The phrase “intricate text” in Grammarly means that your writing is difficult to understand. Usually, the intricate text warning means that you should rewrite the highlighted section of text to be clearer. Although text that is intricate is not necessarily bad, in most cases it will confuse readers and give them trouble understanding your point.
What does Grammarly mean exactly when it warns me about “intricate text”?
The word “intricate” means “highly detailed” or “complex.” When Grammarly says your text is intricate, that means that the highlighted piece of writing probably has too much going on.
In most cases, this seems to happen when there are long sentences with multiple errors which throw off Grammarly’s ability to proofread. Other common causes are the use of
The “intricate text” warning appears in Grammarly’s advanced suggestions box in the online editor, which means you need a premium subscription to see exactly what went wrong with your writing.
Examples of Intricate Text
It’s actually difficult to get Grammarly to give you this warning on purpose. However, there are a few words and constructions which make the error show up regularly.
Long, complicated sentences with repeated words
“And I looked around for a bus in front of a puddle, and, before I knew it, what I had seen in the street was sloshing over me in a great big wave of dirty water.”
Two things in this admittedly complicated sentence confuse Grammarly. First, the repeated use of “and.” Second, the phrase “before I knew it, what I had seen.”
The sentence can be rewritten as two sentences to get rid of the warning: “I looked around for a bus in front of a puddle. Before I knew it, what I had seen in the street was sloshing over me in a great big wave of dirty water.
The rewrite is easier to read, as it is split across two sentences. The repeated “and” has also been removed to increase clarity. The second sentence could be further revised for added clarity, but Grammarly will no longer give the warning at this point.
The word “they”
“All they ever wanted was to go to sleep. We ensured they couldn’t.”
Here, Grammarly underlines the second “they” as intricate text. It’s unclear exactly what’s intricate about the word “they” in this specific case, but this is an easy one to fix with a rewrite.
“All they ever wanted was to go to sleep. We ensured it couldn’t happen.”
The word “this” or “that” at the start of a sentence
“I had finally found my purpose in life. This was unsurprising to everyone who knew me.”
Here, Grammarly says that the word “this” is intricate text.
The reason this is “intricate” is probably because starting a sentence with the word “this” requires the reader to think back to a previous sentence to figure out what it refers to.
In grammar terms, this is called a vague antecedent, and too much of it in a piece of writing can definitely make it hard to concentrate.
Again, it’s a pretty easy fix to get rid of the warning in Grammarly and also make the sentence easier to understand.
“I had finally found my purpose in life. Nobody who knew me was surprised by what I found.”
Should I correct “intricate text” in Grammarly?
Intricate text means your writing will be harder for readers to understand.
In most cases, that’s a bad thing. If you’re trying to explain the benefits of a new product, for example, or if you’re trying to describe how to complete a project, confusing writing is going to make your job harder.
There may well be cases where intricate text is unavoidable. Especially if you’re writing about complicated academic topics, or if you’re using rhetorical constructs like parallelism, you might struggle to rewrite your text in a clearer way.
That said, it’s always best practice to write clearly rather than vaguely. Even if you’re not sure your end result is any better, chances are good that just the attempt to clarify will help your readers understand what you’re writing about better.
How to get rid of “intricate text” warnings in Grammarly
The main reason Grammarly gives an “intricate text” warning is if a single sentence has too many clauses within it. By splitting long sentences into shorter ones, you can both get rid of the error and write a clearer sentence.
If you’re seeing this warning under a specific word, like “they” or “this” or “that,” the best thing to do is try to rephrase the writing to avoid that word.
What is Grammarly exactly?
Grammarly is a popular writing assistance program, offering a free online grammar checker as well as an installable browser extension, Word plugin and various other grammar and spelling software.
The site is used in many education settings by students to avoid getting lower scores for common mistakes, and it’s also popular with business people and others in situations where it’s important to avoid spelling errors or use formal grammar.
Most of Grammarly’s suggestions are pretty straightforward. For instance, Grammarly might tell you that you misspelled a word or need to add an apostrophe.
Some suggestions, though, are harder to understand. One of these is the dreaded “intricate text” warning.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.