Wednesday, June 07, 2006

This post has impact...but does it impact you?

They say you learn something new everyday. Sometimes it's trivial (the only date that is also a command: March 4th) and sometimes it is logistically useful (take Hunter St. to avoid congested downtown Apex). Other times it is a real epiphany. Today's new brain wrinkle is a combo of the trivial and useful sort, and was stumbled upon at, which is a clearinghouse of sorts for popular links. If you know me, you know that "10 Flagrant Grammar Mistakes That Make You Look Stupid" was quick to catch my eye. I love grammar. Well, let me rephrase that. I like things I'm good at, and I'm pretty good at grammar.

Anyway, I figured this article would be your standard rehash of the all-too-common their/they're/there kinds of mixups, and it is, but buried in tip #5 (affect vs. effect) was the tidbit that blew my mind. Impact is not a verb. Wha? Rainy weather impacts commuters. Consuming high amounts of fat impacts cardiovascular health. Turns out this is wrong. Who knew? Impact is a noun only. If you look it up at, you see that it is, in fact, listed as a verb, but has been slapped with the label "usage problem." Did you know there was a Usage Panel? News to me. Apparently this group of intellectually superior individuals decides what is proper and what isn't when it comes to using words. A whopping 95% of them think it is flat-out wrong to say "Today's high pollen count will impact allergy sufferers." You have to say "Today's high pollen count will have an impact on allergy sufferers." All righty then.

The usage note at refers the reader to the entry for contact, which also started out only as a noun, but has successfully transitioned into the verb category. Can you imagine it being incorrect to say "I will contact you as soon as possible"? The English language is always evolving, and my bet is on impact becoming acceptable as a verb, just as they/them/their will become acceptable to refer to a singular non-gendered entity ("Someone left their keys behind."). Heck, it's even hip to turn nouns into verbs these days. Think about how you find information online. Do you say, "I did a Google search on digital cameras," or do you say "I Googled digital cameras"?

Anyway, I know this is an extremely nerdy post and most people will roll their eyes or not bother to read, but it is fascinating to me and I thought I'd share. Still booooored at work. Obviously.

But travel is getting ever closer. June's locations have been finalized. I will be in South Carolina on the 21st; near Asheville, NC on the 22nd and near Wilmington, NC on the 26th. I probably won't have enough time to tour the Biltmore Estate but I definitely want to stick my toe in the Atlantic. Then I'll be in northern Georgia from the 27th through the 30th. None of these require air travel--even for Georgia, our customers are 2 hours from the Atlanta airport so it ends up being almost a wash. You figure, for a 4 pm flight, you have to be there at 3, so you leave the house at 2:30. It takes 90 minutes, so you land at 5:30 (assuming no delays). By the time you've gotten your luggage, rented a car, and hit the road, it's probably 6:30. I'm told the drive is about six hours, and from what I can tell, it's gorgeous country down there. I'm so looking forward to it!


  1. Yes, modern technology seems to be verbalizing many of our nouns. We may fight it at first, but eventually, we must give in. :)

  2. See isnt ur life better here in NC than in CA? For one i can tell it is. But yet ou still find something negative like ur "and its only May" posting. Arent u glad u followed my lead here? Your Welcome!! ;-)