Words mean things.


They really do.

I had to play English teacher yesterday and it just about drove me nuts.

I’ll revisit the lesson. Let’s start with the definition of the word.

Impact: [n. im-pakt; v. im-pakt]

1. the striking of one thing against another; forceful contact; collision: The impact of the colliding cars broke the windshield.

2. an impinging: the impact of light on the eye.

3. influence; effect: the impact of Einstein on modern physics.

4. an impacting; forcible impinging: the tremendous impact of the shot.

5. the force exerted by a new idea, concept, technology, or ideology: the impact of the industrial revolution.

Pay attention to definition number 3. An impact of something/someone on something/someone else.

I’m speaking to this woman about different options for her based on her current financial statement. I’ve given her 4 different options – A, B, C, and D. I explain the different options – they are clearly not what she wants but that’s alright. I’m used to that part. They are still the options regardless of her preference.

She tells me, ‘I wanna know the impact.’

I pause. Then I ask simply say, ‘The impact of what?’

She repeats her statement as if there was nothing wrong with it – ‘I want to know the impact.’

I’m sure I heard her correctly. I respond, ‘I don’t know what you’re asking me. You want to know the impact of what on what?’

She has obviously decided to stand her ground and hold her line. She says with a hint of annoyance, ‘I *want* to know the impact.’

I’m tired of her by now, so I decide to help her understand the error of her ways. “I don’t know what you’re asking me. Something has an impact on something. You haven’t described anything related to a cause or effect. I can’t answer your question. Can you try and reword your question without using the word impact?’

I wish I could end this right now by saying that fixed it and she got it. But I can’t. I’ll spare you the details of this painful 30 minute conversation, but trust me – it never got better.

People. Words mean things. You have to put them together correctly to express your ideas. If you don’t, people like me won’t know what you’re talking about. And we just might tell you about it.

Shout out to Crissle (@crissles) for starting the movement. I’m doing my part. I don’t feel like I’m making a difference, but I’m trying!

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