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Impacted v Affected

Don't say that: 

Impacted: for example "not be adversely impacted after 2025" (USA IRS statement)

Do say this: 

Affected: for example "not be adversely affected after 2025"


The word impact is often misused because it requires something to go with it. For example "to impact upon."

But "impacted" does not require that additional word. However, it's not acceptable for another reason: it's a hyperbolic expression. That means that it carries a greater effect than it deserves.

The big problem with hyperbolic expressions is that once they are used, there is no additional "headroom" for when greater effect is needed. That leads to the addition, where greater effect is needed, of an adjective. That is problematic because many people lack the vocabulary to use applicable, and acceptable, adjectives and they, therefore, resort to offensive terms in their stead.

But simpler structures and less words always aid clarity and that's important for comprehension.

So, by using a word with the appropriate level of gravity, documents are shorter, clearer and carry the correct meaning.

For example, LinkedIn recently failed to post messages. Instead of posting them with a note as to why they were delayed, the company sent a message to users saying that they could check if they were "impacted." That makes absolutely no sense. An Impact is when one thing strikes another. It is a violent event. Users were not "impacted," they were "affected."

The extension of the term to say that "event x had an impact upon y" does make sense if the effect is severe because it reflects the violence implicit in the original use of the word "impact."


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