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Interview: A New Definition, Thanks to Randy Moss

Posted by languageandgrammar on November 1, 2010

By Paul Yeager, author of Literally, the Best Language Book Ever

I love it when professional athletes talk. If it’s not a humorous mixture of mangled cliches and mixed metaphors, then it’s some outlandish, self-centered statement that only a media person trying to make a name for himself is interested in hearing.

Now, one  professional athlete, Randy Moss, has decided to redefine the word interview:

If it is going to be an interview, I am going to conduct it. So, I will answer my own questions and ask myself the questions and give you the answers. So from here on out, I am not answering any more questions the rest of this season.

Interview used to mean “a meeting or conversation in which a writer or reporter asks questions of one or more persons from whom material is sought for a newspaper story, television broadcast, etc.”

Now, thanks to Randy Moss, it’s a one-man show!

Maybe Randy will also redefine the word pompous to mean “regard with the utmost esteem.” If he does, then he’ll have plenty of company from the world of professional sports.

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Impact Does Not Mean to Affect

Posted by languageandgrammar on January 18, 2008

A sports reporter talking about how Randy Moss’ latest legal trouble will affect the Patriots said that people are asking, How is this going to impact the team? Then, he said, Yes, it will impact the team.

This grammar error is becoming more popular than pointed ears at a Star Trek convention.  I know that this is going to come as a surprise to many people, especially those in the media (since they’re the ones who seem to love to use it the most), but impact is not a verb that is synonymous with the verbs affect or influence.

Although impact can be used as a verb, it means to strike forcefully or to fix firmly as if by packing or wedging. So, The meteor impacted Earth means that the meteor struck Earth forcefully. It does not mean that the meteor influenced or affected Earth.

I’m not sure why people have started to use this so much, but it seems that the people who use it think that it sounds more important and more dramatic than, for example, in this case, How is this going to affect the team. In reality, all it sounds is ridiculous. If you mean affect or influence, then how about using the words affect or influence?  

Power in speech comes from choosing the appropriate words, which already exist in our vocabulary, not from changing the meanings of words.


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

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