Impact this

Mark Samuels sent along these complaints that made me wonder if perhaps
he had an impacted molar at the time:

The older I become, the more the daily diet of shallow and ill-educated talking heads that the broadcast media provides me tends to grind upon me, particularly when certain buzzwords are picked up, used over and over, and then bleed into print journalism. And we all agree, of course, that print journalism is the last bastion of literacy in the civilized

Some examples:

  • CLEARLY, blah blah blah. . .” CLEARLY, this is
    being overused and I want to throw up every time I hear some pretentious, egocentric politician/commentator/tv reporter use it.
  • Or tune in to the overuse of AS WELL, when a simple ALSO
    or TOO would do.Then there is the grating conversion of a noun or adjective to a verb:
  • An IMPACT may impinge or strike (noun). And we may have IMPACTED teeth, an IMPACTED area where the state provides services but derives little tax revenue because of tax-exempt federal property, and we may even be IMPACTED by being wedged in or packed (all adjectives)
    But Johnny’s inability to speak or write the Queen’s English was not IMPACTED by his refusal to do his lessons, although that refusal may have had an IMPACT upon his situation. IMPACT is never a verb, much less a past-tense transitive verb in the form of IMPACTED. Clearly, there are many other examples that have impacted our speech and reporting as well.
  • 6 thoughts on “Impact this

    1. Thank you! IMPACT is not a damned verb, and I am sick of people’s adding to the devolution of the English language by adopting these catchwords (please note my possessive before the gerand – yay, me!) And may I also take this opportunity to vent about “At this point in time” – why do people overspeak in hopes of sounding more educated, when these misuses betray a lack of education? … I also hate the incorrect usage of “I” for this same purpose, to whit: “The tiaras were given to Queen Elizabeth and I.” Okay, I’m done! (For now).

    2. Actually, “impact” is a verb, but it means “to crush or compress” (as in “fecal impaction”), and is primarily a medical term.

    3. Well spotted and well said. The word is quickly replacing “too” and “also” because many people think it sounds more proper or eloquent. I find it grating, especially because by the time the speaker gets to “as well”, it often brings no new information–“I’m tired and hungry as well.” This usage is also incorrect. The true meaning of “as well” is closer to “equally” than to “also” or “too.” Here’s an example:
      “I speak English and German, too.”
      “I speak English and German as well.”
      Left to do its proper job, “as well” gives a different shade of meaning, and is a short form–it saves the speaker from saying “as well as I speak English.” It’s not just tiresome, but also improper to say, for example, “he’s here and I’m here as well” because it would be meainingless to say “I’m here well”.
      What’s even more tiresome is the growing use of “as well” to round off sentences in which it’s not being offered to say anything at all. Public speakers do this all the time. I’ve heard sports commentators end several sentences in a row with “as well”, and do so in a way that gave the term no meaning other than perhaps, “I just finished a thought. Oh, I just had another one, as well!” My theory is that broadcast school teaches them to do this to create a uniform tv journalism sound, and because the final back consonant “l” allows them to make a little mentholating “don’t you just love my voice” growl.

    4. Why does everyone “speak out” on the news now? Why don’t they ever just speak?! Every time there’s an interview, “Tiger’s alleged mistress is now speaking out about their steamy affair,” “The city councilman is ready to speak out about his anger over the proposed budget.” So annoying. It’s everywhere!

    5. Amen on the “speak out” trope. Another one that drives me nuts is the idea that the investment of 30 seconds on a story constitutes “in depth” reporting.