Feeling Impacted?

by | Nov 23, 2014 | Language | 0 comments


We are far from being grammar experts, but do try to use words correctly, but we’re apparently in the minority. Why is it that so many people who ought to know better use the word impacted, when the word affected is clearly correct and more appropriate?

From the New Oxford American Dictionary:

impacted | im’paktid 


1 chiefly Medicine pressed firmly together, in particular:• (of a tooth) wedged between another tooth and the jaw.• (of a fractured bone) having the parts crushed together.• (of feces) lodged in the intestine.

2 strongly affected by something: grandiose planning projects have had deleterious effects on impacted social groups.


noun | ‘I’m,pakt 

the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another: there was the sound of a third impact | bullets that expand and cause devastating injury on impact.

• the effect or influence of one person, thing, or action, on another: our regional measures have had a significant impact onunemployment.

verb | im’pakt no obj. ] 

1 come into forcible contact with another object: the shell impacted twenty yards away.• with obj. ] chiefly N. Amer. come into forcible contact with: an asteroid impacted the earth some 60 million years ago.• with obj. ] press firmly: the animals’ feet do not impact and damage the soil as cows’ hooves do.

2 (impact onhave a strong effect on someone or something: high interest rates have impacted on retail spending | [ with obj. ] :  the move is not expected to impact the company’s employees.

ORIGIN early 17th cent. (as a verb in the sense press closely, fix firmly): from Latin impact- driven in, from the verb impingere (see impinge.

usage: The phrasal verb impact on, as in when produce is lost, it always impacts on the bottom line, has been in the language since the 1960s. Many people disapprove of it despite its relative frequency, saying that make an impact on or other equivalent wordings should be used instead. New formations of verbs from nouns (as in the case of impact) are often regarded as somehow inferior.

Inferior indeed. So if you feel impacted by the weather, you’d better have a snowball stuck up your ass. If you’re attempting to impact someone, you’d better be attempting to shove a snowball up their ass. It’s not a verb, folks!

More examples:

Wrong: This post will impact your language skills.

Better: This post will have an impact on your language skills.

Best: This post will affect your language skills.

Wrong: This post will positively impact your language skills.

Better: This post will have a positive impact on your language skills.

Best: This post will help your language skills.

Wrong: This post will negatively impact your language skills.

Better: This post will have a negative impact on your language skills.

Best: This post will hamper your language skills.

I hope this article has had a positive affect on your language skills. Here is a list of people who frequently misuse the words impact and impacted:

MSNBC’s Tamron Hall

(Add names to this list by posting a comment below.)



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