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First, I need to say that the main sentence comes after a sentence like as this: Authorities were afraid of a post-war social upheaval. Writing this to stress that I already said "post-war".

Here is the main sentence:

The threat of post-war industrial unrest fueled by acute unemployment and insecurity, in Struthers’ (1983) words, “dragged a reluctant [federal] government into a wider responsibility for the unemployed.”

I am trying to convey this:

[The threat of] [post-war industrial unrest fueled by acute unemployment and insecurity...]

There was a possibility of industrial unrest. If such unrest did happen, it would surely be fueled by unemployment and insecurity.

However, my sentence sounds like this:

[The threat of post-war industrial unrest] [fueled by acute unemployment and insecurity...]

Sounds like the threat was fueled by unemployment and insecurity which would mean that unemployment existed even before the war came to an end. That is not the case (although some insecurity was there). There was no unemployment while the war was going on. Authorities were apprehensive that when the war ends there will be unemployment and there will be increased insecurity. And that those things will fuel if an unrest were to breakout.

Any ideas how I can convey the right meaning? And do I need "post-war" at all?

3 Answers 3

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One possibility is to move "unemployment-fuelled" to an attributive position:

The threat of unemployment-fuelled industrial unrest, in Struther's words ...

Or you expand, and split the clause, to avoid the ambiguity:

There was a fear that unemployment and social insecurity would fuel social unrest, and the threat of such unrest, in Struther's words ...

Here I've used "such" as a pronominal to link back to the definition in the previous clause.

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You could move the position of post-war in the sentence:

The threat of industrial unrest fuelled by acute post-war unemployment and insecurity . . .

Although this still leaves the possibility of unemployment during the war, it's making it clear that it's unemployment after the war that's fuelling the threat of unrest.

If you really want to make it clear that there was no unemployment during the war, you'll have to explain that in another sentence or rephrase things even more.

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  • Someone else also recommended me to move "post-war" after acute, however I was not completely satisfied with the overall construction. Yours sound right though. And, yes, elsewhere in my writing I did mention that the breakout of the war solved the problem of unemployment, at least momentarily.
    – AIQ
    Sep 1, 2018 at 4:07
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The threat of post-war industrial unrest, exacerbated by acute unemployment and insecurity, “dragged a reluctant [federal] government into a wider responsibility for the unemployed” (Struthers, 1983).

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  • Not sure how "exacerbate" resolves my query. My main question was how to emphasize that the unrest was for sure going to be fueled by unemployment, and that the threat was not fueled by existing unemployment.
    – AIQ
    Sep 1, 2018 at 9:12

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