More on Impact

I’ve noticed that many people are as interested in the misuse of the word impact as a verb as am I. In my IMPACT DOES NOT MEAN TO AFFECT post, I explained that impact isn’t a verb unless it’s used to mean to strike forcefully, as in The meteor impacted Earth, and that it shouldn’t be used to mean to affect or to influence. I didn’t, however, fully explain how impact should be used. 

Impact is a noun just as are table, car, happiness, and health. It is the name of a thing. 

In my previous IMPACT… blog, I used the example of someone on a sports radio show saying, How is this going to impact the team? Yes, it will impact the team. If the speaker wanted to use the word impact (instead of the more appropriate affect), then he should have used it as a noun and said Will this have an impact on the team? Yes, it will have an impact on the team. (Of course, he could have also said What kind of an impact will this have on the team or How much of an impact will this have on the team.) 

You can have an impact on something, but you cannot impact something, and the only things that can be impacted are wisdom teeth—unless, of course, you’re talking about Earth being hit by that darn meteor!  


Sherry’s Grammar List and Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever

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