In its publications, the MLA follows various usage experts who recommend restricting the use of impact as a verb to only one of the several definitions you may find in a dictionary: “to strike forcefully” (“Impact”). A car may impact another car in a collision, for example. But we avoid using impact as a verb when the meaning is “to affect” or “to influence.” We would not write the following sentences:
Slow job growth impacts the overall economic outlook.
Changing social norms can impact language: some individuals have adopted the singular they because they wish to avoid gendered pronouns such as he and she.
In the examples above, other verbs that fit the meaning can easily be substituted:
Slow job growth affects the overall economic outlook.
Changing social norms can influence language: some individuals have adopted the singular they because they wish to avoid gendered pronouns such as he and she.
“Impact, Vb.” Merriam-Webster, www.merriam-Webster.com/dictionary/
Patrick Chomnycky 08 April 2020 AT 03:04 PM
I agree completely with your analysis of the misuse of 'impact' as a verb. Simple laziness has made it the 'de-fault' verb.
One can have an impacted molar; most everything else is 'affected' or 'influenced'.
Neil Macowan 30 June 2021 AT 01:06 PM
This advice has proven useful to me. I have seen with dismay on other sites that there is a drift towards accepting "impact" as a verb in written papers, which I do my best to resist.
Di 28 March 2022 AT 12:03 AM
Why do you think the verb form of impact should not e used? I think this is unfair… Linguistically speaking, I would say that in formal scientific language it can definitely be used. Maybe it doesn’t sound like an every-day word, but that what differentiates conversational language and scientific one
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