Recently, The State led an editorial off by citing a headline in the Charleston paper:
A RECENT HEADLINE in Charleston’s Post and Courier asked: “Could Bobby Harrell’s departure impact Charleston’s road money?”…
I read no further, but immediately emailed Cindi Scoppe to say, “The answer to the P&C’s question is ‘no,’ because ‘impact’ is not a verb. (I later went back and read the edit. You should, too; it will make you feel even better about Jay Lucas being the new speaker.)
But I’m still harrumphing about the P&C headline.
Then, this morning, I saw a Tweet that said:
SCOTUS’ Same-Sex Marriage Decision Could Impact SC
To which I could only respond, “No, it could not — because ‘impact’ is a noun, not a verb. :)”
I added the smiley face because the Tweeter does not know me. Wouldn’t want her to think I’m an unpleasant person or anything.
Yes, I know I’m fighting a losing battle. I know that people who employ this abomination think that it is a verb, and can probably cite all sorts of authorities to support them. Doesn’t matter. I refuse to accept it.
There is something about “impact” used as a verb that for me invokes the most stilted, bogus, officialese. People think it sounds authoritative, official, like something an expert would say. It’s like, I don’t know, cops calling everyone a “subject,” or saying they “observed” the “subject” doing this or that. I actually don’t mind that as much, though — I can appreciate a cop trying to distance themselves from the incident with technical, unemotional language. “I observed the subject exiting the premises at a high rate of speed,” sounds more like the voice of law and order than, “I saw that stupid jackass with my own eyes, running off like a scalded dog.”
But “impact,” used as a verb, affects (note the way I used the right word there) me differently. Every time, I hear the voice of someone who is trying to sound smart, but instead is coming off as illiterate. To me, anyway.
Yeah, I know I’ve mentioned this before. But it bugs me every time, and sometimes I just have to say something…