If you’ve ever read very many transportation planning documents,  you’ve come across the word impact a few times.  As in, “The planned roadway reconstruction project will have no permanent impact on the adjacent property,” or, ”the proposed Wal*Mart will have a detrimental impact on traffic operations.”  When I first started planning school, I thought this was strange “planner-speak.”  Of course I was familiar with the word impact and its various uses & meanings, but it had never been a part of my vocabulary in this sense.  I always wanted to ask my professors, “why does everyone use the word impact so much around here?”
After completing planning school and being employed as an engineer/planner for 9 months, I comfortable stating that the reason planners use the word impact so much is because nobody knows the difference between affect and effect, and none of us want to look stupid getting caught using the wrong one.

3 comments to Impact

  • Man, I hope I never really feel affected by the effects of using 'affect' or 'effect' incorrectly. The impact might just be too much for me to bear 🙂

    Boy, I'd feel dumb if I got the usage wrong in this comment 😉

  • Ha ha!
    I consider spelling and grammar to be two of my strengths, but I still get 'affect' and 'effect' confused sometimes. I feel a little less stupid about that now. 🙂

  • Nice job, Bill. My English degree is silently laughing at this.