The IMPACT Epidemic

The use of the word IMPACT is so common these days that few people know that they are using it wrong most of the time. Bloggers, tweeters, media reporters, as well as students, are using the word IMPACT for everything from worldwide political and social issues to describing the effect of a hang nail. This simplified and incorrect use of IMPACT is actually a weak and ineffective way of communicating. The English language is powerful, and using this one word for a wide range of circumstances actually undermines our communication efforts.

How did this happen?

The overuse of the word IMPACT has most likely arisen due to doubt or confusion about how to use the words affect (verb) and effect (noun) because of the pesky, rarely used, and minor form of effect as a verb, which literally means “to bring about or put into effect”.

For example: She effected change in the workplace.

Honestly, who actually says anything like that EVER? This usage is so uncommon that we need not even worry about it. Therefore, one way to strengthen your speech and writing is to scratch that worry off your list and confidently put affect (verb) and effect (noun) back to work again.

[Read more…]