Word Choice – Impact: The Verb

A BizWritingTip reader wrote, “One of my pet peeves is the use of impact. More and more, I see and hear it being used as a verb. It seems to even have a past tense – impacted. My experience is that people are using impact in place of affect (as a verb). My only knowledge of impact is as a noun. Do I need to update?”

BizWritingTip Response

I hate to tell you this but …

According to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, impact can be used as a verb. It means “to come forcibly into contact with a usually larger body or surface.” It is usually followed by a preposition, such as by.

Example (Correct )

Our department was impacted by the changes.

Although some people object to this use of impact, it is now well established in both spoken and written English and, therefore, is perfectly acceptable.

I would use impacted over affected if I wanted to indicate the effect was particularly strong.

Trust this update doesn’t affect or impact your day!

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