Rather than fostering some new sense of civic unity, the virus is just as likely to worsen inequality further [my bolding].
(Farhad Manjoo, “San Francisco Beat the Virus. But It’s Still Breaking My Heart,” NYTimes, 5-13-20)
Calling out infelicities of style is a chancy job. It makes a man thoughtful… and a little lonely. Some thoughts fly, some don’t. As my friend the helicopter pilot says, “It’s all a numbers game. You go up safe X times, come down safe X times. On good days X is even.”
“Worsen” repels furthering. Once worse, a thing’s augmented badness wants gauging with a different stick. Good style dictates a pivot to “increase.”
Saying the virus is just as likely to “increase” inequality works, because it introduces a spiraling potentiality for alpha-periphrasis around intensifiers such as “abysmal,” “abject,” and the ever-popular “apocalyptic.”
Wait. If inequality is trained now on apocalyptic levels, is “worsen…further” really out of bounds? I’m inclined to cut it some slack. America’s virus one-ups the rule book today.
(c) 2020 JMN