Friday, April 11, 2008

My Professor Would Be Proud

I had a horrible day, and it's not important why, and it will pass, but one thing just got me out of it and I have to share it with you real quick.

Now I once had a professor whose biggest pet peeve was the improper use of the word "impacted." He hated when people said that things "impacted" them. He didn't particularly enjoy when people said that things even HAD an impact on them, because apparently, although we use that in conversation all the time, it isn't proper. I'm guilty of occasionally saying that things had impacts on other things, but the professor's voice always echoes in my head telling me that I can find a better word. Because of him the only time I have ever used the word impacted was in reference to my wisdom tooth that needs to come out. Impacted means that something is stuck or jammed into something and can't get out.

So here I was in the midst of my bad day driving and listening to the radio and all of a sudden this commercial came on that was about some wonderful organization that does all kinds of great things for at risk kids. I think they were asking for donations, but I'm not sure. It might have been some service that cost money. It doesn't matter. The last line in the commercial was this: "bring your child to XXX Organization and see your child positively impacted!!!!"

I could not stop laughing. I began to picture some place where you take your child and they feed them nothing but cheese, rice, bananas and pepto-bismol.

At the end of two weeks you go pick your child up and they tell you:

"Mr. or Mrs. your child is now positively impacted! Congratulations! He won't crap for a month!"

Please think of this the next time you tell someone that something impacted you.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, sounds like some of the local sayings here which just boggles the mind.


I'm personally guilty of saying "actually" waaaaay too much.


JDogg said...

Impact is a noun...I share the same peeve with you.

Also my ex-father in law ingrained the spelling of seperate [sic] as horribly wrong.

Anonymous said...

So sorry to disagree with the professor...this is what Webster says:
1 a: packed or wedged in b: deeply entrenched : not easily changed or removed
2of a tooth : wedged between the jawbone and another tooth
3: of, relating to, or being an area (as a school district) providing tax-supported services to a population having a large proportion of federal employees and especially those living or working on tax-exempt federal property (aid to education in impacted areas)

Anonymous said...

I have been impacted and it was horrible. I'm not sure what happened that caused me to be impacted. It was horrible. I was in extreme discomfort that grew into pain when something actually began to happen causing much tearing and ripping. In the past I just thought I passed glass, now I was sure. At the time, I thought it was a form of IBD that I just hadn't experienced before and perhaps came with aging. Constipation where I was just an inch from going, but nothing would come for about 12 hours, suddenly became a weekly problem despite adding fiber and water. Nothing seemed to relieve the problem, making every trip to the bathroom a dread and horror. Being impacted when for most of your life, being too loose was a problem opened me up to the fact that perhaps I was just ignorant and insensitive to the other sufferers of IBD, whose symptoms were not only different than mine but much more painful. No joke.

Manda said...

That's beautiful, yet sad that I thought of poo before you mentioned it, as soon as I saw the word impacted. I had to take a handwriting class when I was in college. It was for all prospective elementary school teachers. I still fret over the formation of my number four and I still dream about college classes now and then. It's been 14 years. You could say it "impacted me".

Mile High Pixie said...

BAAAAAAHAHAHAAA!!!! One of my many linguistic pet peeves is the abuse of "affect" and "effect". I also get sick of the overuse and abuse of the reflexive pronoun "myself."

Anonymous said...

You would've loved business school. As a journalism undergrad I was forever biting my tongue when confronted with ridiculous jargon and made-up words. One of my favorites: impactful. Seriously.

D. said...

Yeah, impacted just makes me think of a clogged colon. And is this a symptom of me becoming an old codger, or does it seem like everyone has to say "absolutely!" when what they really mean is a simple "yes"? Like it makes them more sincere or something?

Dave said...

Hmm... disagrees

See definition 3 for noun:
3. influence; effect: the impact of Einstein on modern physics.

Definition 9 for verb:
9. to have an impact or effect on; influence; alter: The decision may impact your whole career. The auto industry will be impacted by the new labor agreements.

and Definition 11 for verb without object:
11. to have an impact or effect: Increased demand will impact on sales.

Wide Lawns said...

Yeah well bootylicious is in the dictionary too.

Miss Kitty said...


That word always makes me think of someone's brains scattered all over the parking lot: "Man, that workshop really impacted me!" I'll mention it to my students in the fall, along with my usual list of no-nos: irregardless, as per, unthaw, "defiantly" where they mean "definitely," etc.

Nanci said...

So, I must tell you that I go to all of the Couty meetings and take all of the notes and publish them for Public Record. Anyhow, I was in my usual mundane meetings and my Director kept using the word "impacted" (due to the impact of the budget cuts on the County and to our employees)and bursted out laughing because I thought of you. The meetings are recorded and all you can hear is my gut busting horse laugh. Truly embarrassing. Thank you for my laugh today, it is greatly appreciated; especially during these testing times! I hope that you are doing well and I miss you terribly! Have a great day!

Angela said...

Great post today! :)

One of my grammar/English pet peeves is when people use "which" when "that" is correct. Peter Jennings was the worst offender I've ever heard.

Nanci said...

I had some additional training courses for work today; and I quote: "It would be pretty impactful for your employees..." Thought of you again. :)

Anonymous said...


im·paction n.
Usage Note: The use of impact as a verb meaning "to have an effect" often has a big impact on readers. Eighty-four percent of the Usage Panel disapproves of the construction to impact on, as in the phrase social pathologies, common to the inner city, that impact heavily on such a community; fully 95 percent disapproves of the use of impact as a transitive verb in the sentence Companies have used disposable techniques that have a potential for impacting our health.·It is unclear why this usage provokes such a strong response, but it cannot be because of novelty. Impact has been used as a verb since 1601, when it meant "to fix or pack in," and its modern, figurative use dates from 1935. It may be that its frequent appearance in the jargon-riddled remarks of politicians, military officials, and financial analysts continues to make people suspicious. Nevertheless, the verbal use of impact has become so common in the working language of corporations and institutions that many speakers have begun to regard it as standard. It seems likely, then, that the verb will eventually become as unobjectionable as contact is now, since it will no longer betray any particular pretentiousness on the part of those who use it. See Usage Note at contact.

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