Google defines "enhance" as

intensify, increase, or further improve the quality, value, or extent of

Consider the sentence

(something) is enhanced

I fear this sentence will be interpreted as "there is more (something), and this is a good thing".

On the other hand, "deteriorate" is defined as

become progressively worse. synonyms: worsen, get worse, decline, be in decline, degenerate, decay;

Some of these synonyms, notably "decline", suggest a reduction. So the alternative sentence

(something) is deteriorated

could be interpreted as "there is less (something), and this is a bad thing".

Is there a similar elegant way to express "there is more (something), and this is a bad thing"?

  • Neither of those words primarily refer to quantity, so neither will elegantly express the idea of there being more which is better. Dec 8, 2016 at 6:04
  • A word for deterioration over a period of time is decay.
    – LawrenceC
    Dec 8, 2016 at 13:23

2 Answers 2


I take your understanding of enhance and deteriorate as the background, and this part: "Is there a similar elegant way to express 'there is more (something), and this is a bad thing'?" as the real problem. And this problem is about expressiveness in writing (and/or speaking). In other words, it's about how to sound more natural, more idiomatic, and have a good writing style.

In my opinion, you may be asking the wrong question. There might be a stock phrase in your first language for "there is more X and this is a bad thing" whatever X is. (I don't know this, but because you're asking this, it suggests that this might be true.)

As far as I can see, English is not like that. In English, a) some words usually go together, which means that we don't have a universal phrase that works in all cases of X, and b) when it's general enough, the connotation of "this is a bad thing" is not in the phrase, but in X itself.

Here are some examples.
a) When the noun (i.e., X) dictates the verb:

Viruses multiply.
Health deteriorates.
Problems escalate.
Poverty is widespread.

b) General phrases, but the connotation of "bad thing" is in X, not the verb:

Weeds grow. (But kids grow, too.)
The debt increases/grows/rises/soars. (But profit rises, too.)
Bad news kept coming in. (But money can keep coming in, too.)

bonus) Some other phrases that's usually used when we have a lot or more of X and it's a bad thing. This is not strictly the case you seem to describe in your question, though:

Wars are everywhere.
Things worsen.



refer to the "quality" of something not the quantity

The patient's condition has deteriorated.
the patient's condition has become worse
the patient's condition has become less than what it was

The new software has enhanced graphics.
the new software has better graphics than the previous version

When something is enhanced it implies it is improved, when something deteriorates it implied it is worsened. Neither of those words imply the size of the enhancement or deterioration.


is something which is large, sudden, and bad.

Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island are examples of catastrophic failure for nuclear power plants.

Flight LMI2933 ran out of fuel and the results were catastrophic.

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