Pejorative form of flourish

In a written paper, my teacher pointed out a mistake I made, which was using

… problems which flourish ..

Apparently problems can’t flourish , I forgot to ask why but I’m assuming because flourish has a positive connotation.

So my question is: What is the pejorative counterpart to the word flourish (which would be appropriate for my example of course)?


Personally, I don’t think using ‘problems that flourish’ is actually bad here. I would actually use it in non-work writing. But she is correct that it is a positive word.

Maybe you can use ‘proliferate’: which means to increase quickly and is more negative.

If you can include more of the sentence I can tell you if that would fit well..

Source : Link , Question Author : Practice4CPE , Answer Author : Meeka

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