I was wondering if someone could tell me what a native speaker would say when an old, inactive disease becomes active again? Please have a look on the following examples:

a) I have an old ulcer which has kicked up again.

b) I have an old ulcer which has reappeared again.

c) I have an old ulcer which has returned again.

d) I have an old ulcer which has came back again.

Based on dictionary definitions, all of the above verbs can work in this sense, but I have no idea which structure is in common use in English. Meanwhile I don't know if my self-made sentences are idiomatic and grammatical at all or not.

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    Of the choices you offer, I would opt for C. But I think a sufferer would be more likely to say that the ulcer had flared up again or was bothering/troubling him/her again. Note that using returned with again is a tautology. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 14:53
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    @RonaldSole "returned again" means "returned for a second or subsequent time". It's not at all tautological. (For example, if I went to the shops, then returned home, then went to a restaurant, then returned home, I would be "returning again" the second time I returned.) Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 17:05
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    @DavidRicherby I've no quarrel with that! It depends on how many times the ulcer has returned. Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 19:15
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    They are all more or less ok, except (d) should be 'has come back again' not 'came'. If you want idiomatic suggestions from a native speaker, how about 'My old ulcer is playing up again' which implies it was lying dormant, but is now causing trouble, or 'That old ulcer is back to haunt me' which implies a suspicion that it's going to be on-going, difficult to finally get rid of? Actually, your choice of disease is relevant here, and if you hadn't used 'ulcer' I might have given a different suggestion.
    – peterG
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 23:48

1 Answer 1


All are very close. "Kicked in" usually refers to something that has an effect that takes a while to manifest, like medicine:

The medicine finally kicked in and my headache is gone.

As in Ronald Sole's comment, "flared up" is better than "kicked in". Unless you want to say something metaphorical like "My old ulcer is kicking me in the guts"? Although, ulcers usually burn, and aren't a dull ache (like from being kicked) so it's not really a great metaphor.

Otherwise all the rest are just standard English. The only suggestion I have is that "reappeared again" or "returned again" are redundant. The "re-" in front already indicates this is not the first time, so the "again" is not needed.

Unless, as in your last sentence, you want to imply that it has come back multiple times already. In which case "came back again" is fine.

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