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There is a sentence:

The matter of what constitutes an operating system became increasingly important as personal computers became more widespread and operating systems grew increasingly sophisticated.

I've got a question: can i replace became increasingly important with became much more important ? Is the meaning going to be changed ?

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"became increasingly important" implies that the matter became more important gradually over time. "became much more important" does not specify whether the matter changed it's level of importance quickly or slowly.

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    thanks :) Actually it mildly confuses, cause "gradually over time" is typically shown by present continuous, but here we have past simple. Jun 7 at 16:54
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    You could just say "became important" and the sentence would still work fine. "Increasingly" is an adverb acting on "became," so it adds the meaning of "gradually over time" without changing the tense.
    – Emily Conn
    Jun 7 at 16:58
  • @EmilyConn Note that it's with an apostrophe means it is or possibly it has. The pronoun its doesn't take an apostrophe. Jun 7 at 17:45
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    They are significantly different. "It happened last February; at that time, karaoke was becoming increasingly popular." This means that karaoke began to become popular before February, and didn't stop until after February. "It happened last February; during that time, karaoke became increasingly popular." This means that karaoke began to become popular at some moment in February, and finished becoming popular at some moment in February. It means a gradual process that happened entirely within the length of time being discussed.
    – Chungoli
    Jun 8 at 2:28
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    You may have noticed that in the first phrase, I used "at that time", and in the second, I used "during that time". This is because the past progressive describes the situation that is ongoing at a moment in time, whereas the the past simple can be used to describe something that happened over a specified length of time.
    – Chungoli
    Jun 8 at 2:28
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Yes, you can replace became increasingly important with became much more important and it will still be grammatically correct.

However, there is a lot going on in this sentence in terms of tense. We have the matter "growing in importance," personal computers "becoming more widespread," and operating systems "growing increasingly sophisticated." These all represent gradual processes, and my impression of the sentence is that you will go on to talk about a trend and not a specific moment in time. Making the change to became much more important, It suggests that you will go on to talk about a specific moment where the matter had already become much more important, but that you will talk about the other two issues (the widespreadness of personal computers and the sophistication of operating systems) as trends. If you want to discuss a specific moment in time, I would advise rewording all three to make it clear.



On an unrelated and unsolicited note, you should be aware that the spelling 'gonna' is only appropriate in the most informal contexts, like text messages to friends. Even if we say it out loud quite regularly, in writing is is generally to be avoided.

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  • thanks a lot. You have written These all represent gradual processes and personal computers "becoming more widespread," but in my sentence personal computers BECAME more widespread , but not becoming. It is a gradual processes? Jun 7 at 17:42
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    You wrote "as personal computers became more widespread." The as indicates that we are talking about a change in the widespreadness of personal computers. If you want to talk about a time where personal computers were more widespread, you would say "when personal computers had become more widespread"
    – George K.
    Jun 7 at 17:50

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