Posted by: Jack Henry | October 24, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Peeve Alert

Dear readers,

Over the years, Donna and I have written several articles about the word impactful and pleaded with you not to use it. Often it is just the word impacted that makes me cry, because growing up, only two things I ever heard of got “impacted.” One of those things was a tooth; the other thing was part of your heinie. Neither of those are things I want to think about when reading business emails or articles.

So, we edit out that word and people argue with us. Here is a little something from the Chicago Manual of Style in our defense. (The highlighting is mine, and yes, I am yelling out the highlighted words and having a hissy fit.)

Q. Is impactful a word and can it be used in place of influential?

A. Absolutely. Impactful is a word, and it is often used in place of influential. But like irregardless, ain’t, and alright (all of which are words in the dictionary), impactful is frowned upon as nonstandard English. Please see CMOS 5.250 (17th ed.), under impact; impactful: “Avoid impactful, which is jargon (replacements include influential and powerful).”

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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  1. […] week I sent out an article that contained a peeve of mine about the word impactful. Several of you wrote in to share your peeves with me, and asked me to put out some reminders to […]

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