Subbing and how it impacts you

I took this shot in my workplace (using my camera phone, hence the poor picture quality).

The message to take away from this is: be careful what signs and posters you put up around subs. And no, those corrections aren't mine!

A poster on secure shredding with handwritten corrections

'Impact' is, however, one of my bugbears. I'm convinced that people only use it so that they don't have to worry about writing 'effect' when they mean 'affect' (or vice versa).


Gareth said...

OK, so can you clarify the issue with this (being a bit ignorant here)?

Is Impact not to be used as a verb, or is there something wrong about the context in which it is used here?

Onymous said...

Here in the States, impact as a verb seems to be preferred over affect so I've given up on changing the world. I do change 'impact' to 'affect' when the degree of affectation, affection, impaction, ...ahem... when the effect is low.

The Ridger, FCD said...

Yes, I agree. "Impact" is a strong word; "affect" need not be.

JD (The Engine Room) said...

Here's an interesting usage note on 'impact', from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition:

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.

JD (The Engine Room) said...

I also suspect that 'impact' as a transitive verb (in the sense of 'affect') is much more widely used in American English than in British English, and that this partly explains my aversion to it. I have no evidence to support my suspicion, though.