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Isn't it redundant to say "becoming increasingly (adjective)"? I know this is a common construction, but it seems to me that increasingly already includes the idea that it is already (adjective) but it will be more so over time. If it is "becoming (adjective)" then it is not (adjective) yet, and so the level cannot grow and the word increasingly would not apply. Therefore, it seems that "become" and "increasingly" are words that should not go together. Comments are welcome.

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No, it is not redundant. Here's an approximate continuum:

  • I am beginning to get [x, an adj]. one was not at all [x], but is now edging (somewhat slowly) toward being [x]

  • I am becoming [x]. means, as you point out, that one is not yet [x] (maybe not at all [x]) but is moving toward being [x] (maybe slowly, maybe quickly.)

  • I am {becoming/getting} a little [x] one was NOT [x] before, but is moving toward being somewhat [x]

  • I am getting [x] means almost the same, but seems more likely to proceed fairly quicky to becoming fully [x].

  • I am getting more [x]. One was already somewhat [x], but is now moreso, and expects to become even more [x] shortly.

  • I am increasingly [x]. This is non-idiomatic. Why? Because "increasingly [x]" is not a state.

  • I am getting very [x]. This is intensified — one was already fully (100%?) [x] but is now going beyond that (becoming more than "normally" [x].)

  • I am becoming increasingly [x]. this seems grammatical, but, as pointed out above, "increasingly [x]" is not a state.

So it must mean "I am becoming, increasingly, [x]". Or in other words, one was already at least somewhat [x], perhaps even fully [x], but is now becoming moreso, and at an increasing rate. Or in other words,

  • I am increasingly becoming [x]..

Thus the only way to make sense of

  • I am becoming increasingly angry.

is that the adverb increasingly is postfixed to the verb becoming, not prefixed to the adjective angry.

Granted, this is not intuitive. But many English constructions are not intuitive.

So what would be an equivalent, unambiguous way to express the intent you claimed for "I am becoming increasingly angry."? I suggest:


Further Musings about Degrees of [Adjective]:

Adding variety and texture to this continuum.......

Many verbs have "softer" and/or "stronger" alternatives, with subtly varying connotations. For "angry", these might be SOME alternatives:

  • tired of, annoyed, confounded, bothered, peeved, frustrated, upset, exasperated, steamed, outraged, angry, livid, enraged, apoplectic, murderous

    (check your thesaurus for more near-synonyms for each of these.)

....and comparative and superlative forms......

- angry, angrier, angriest

... as well as quantifiers.

I already showed some examples with more angry. We don't often use less angry, but of course we use "less [x]" with other adjectives.) - imperceptibly, minimally, a little, somewhat, fairly, definitely, fully, completely, very, extremely, supremely, etc.

So there are dozens, if not hundreds of ways to convey some degree of anger, with various levels of intensity and subtle nuances of connotation.

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I believe it is redundant from a grammatical perspective. However, "becoming increasingly [adjective]" might be used by a native speaker who wishes to convey a feeling that the process is at an early stage or who wishes to defuse the impact of a negative statement somewhat. Compare "I am increasingly unhappy with you" and "I am becoming increasingly unhappy with you." The former feels like a stronger statement, more blunt, and emphasizes that one is already unhappy. It would be upsetting to hear. The second statement feels slightly less direct, a little more diplomatic. It invites the listener to intervene and change the situation. Similarly, a positive statement may sound bold or bragging without the unnecessary delay word of "becoming". Compare: "I am increasingly confident about my golf game" with "I am becoming increasingly confident about my golf game." The former sounds like a brag. The second, slightly more modest.

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