'Impact' as a verb - is it correct use?

One of my friends used 'impact' as a verb in her English essay, i.e. used in the sense 'It impacted greatly on her education'. My English teacher marked it with double crosses, proceeding to explain to the class that 'impact' is never to be used as a verb and insisting that it may only be used as a noun.

I checked the dictionary, and it says that impact may also be used as a verb. Therefore, I ask, is it correct to use it as a noun? Is it perhaps an American/British/Australian English tendency? Or is she just wrong?

7 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Your teacher is completely and utterly wrong.

    The Oxford English Dictionary cites "impact" as a verb back to the 1600s. The sense of "wedging stuff into" came first, but they cite "to impact" = "to come forcibly into contact with": from 1916. And even in the non-literal sense - "to have a (pronounced) effect on" - they cite it back to 1935:


    1935 W. G. HARDY Father Abraham 370 For there was about them an air of eagerness and of shuddering expectation which impacted on his consciousness and fascinated even while it repelled him.

    ==end quote==

    It's not difficult to find older examples. For instance, New York Times, November 7, 1895: "Its rays impacted on the vapor cushion, and never once during the day did a beam struggle through".

    Out of interest, check out the Google News graph of its occurrence 1960-2009 ( http://www.google.co.uk/archivesearch?as_user_ldat... ). It has become a thoroughly mainstream usage, and nobody should be penalised for using a construct that is used by the BBC and by quality newspapers such as the Times and the Guardian.

    Source(s): OED, Google News
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  • 3 years ago

    Impact Verb

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  • 1 decade ago

    Technically, your teacher is wrong, but I hate to say it. The verb "impact" means "to hit" or "to crush." Using "impact" as a verb meaning "to have an effect on" is a fairly recent development, and it's widespread enough to have made it into the dictionary, but I hate reading or hearing it, and so do a lot of teachers who are old-school.

    Yes, it's in the dictionary. Yes, people will know what you mean when you say or write it. No, don't put it in a paper or other formal writing. Use "to have an impact on." I would revise your example sentence to "It had a great impact on her education."

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  • 1 decade ago

    The only appropriate use of impact as a verb is, according to Webster1913, to 'drive close together' or to 'wedge tightly' - as in a slow, short-distance movement with the intent of wedging something. A meteor ends its brief trip in an impact; however, it doesn't impact the surface. It strikes it.

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  • Diane
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Impact can be a noun or a verb.

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  • 1 decade ago

    your teacher is wrong.

    impact as a noun: the powerful effect that sth has on sb/sth - the act of one object hitting another; the force with which this happens

    impact as a verb: to have an effect on sth - to hit sth with great force

    Source(s): oxford advanced dictionary
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  • 1 decade ago

    Impact is also a verb. She is wrong.

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