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3 Comments

  • “Until just a few years ago, “impacted” was used only in a medical sense.”

    I realise you’re reproducing this line from the Washington Post, but it’s false wherever it’s written. Impacted (adj.) and impact (v) have been used in a variety of senses, not just medical ones, for decades and in some cases centuries.

  • I had a university professor who would cross out ‘impact’ whenever I used it in an essay. He would then write in the margin, ‘inelegant!’.

  • I understand his distaste for it, Jonathan. In my own speech I would be inclined to use impact (v) only in dental, planetary, or other such specialised contexts. In text I’m editing I sometimes replace it, not because it’s “inelegant” but mainly because its synonyms and near-synonyms elicit less criticism. But this criticism is, as Merriam-Webster has shown, relatively recent and often unfounded. Elsewhere, Bill Brohaugh has presented a lively defence of impact as a verb. Maybe your professor would be interested!

    Thanks for the other links, by the way.