Are You Accidentally “Verbing”?

Following virtual training sessions on Write It So They Read It: Technical Writing for Non-Technical Employees or Proof It! How To Be a Better Proofreader, participants send me questions about grammar and writing and punctuation they encounter at work. For the next three weeks, I’m reaching inside the figurative mailbag to answer questions from readers. Please tag me with your pesky punctuation or confusing word choice question, and I’ll be sure to answer.Below is the next question in our series of reader Q&As. This one comes from Hannah:

“What is the correct use of impact? The impact of the training was positive.  

Or should it be limited to describe a car accident?”


Yes, you are welcome to use impact in your example sentence as it means “the effect or influence of one person or action on another person.” 

However, you may want to steer clear of using impact as a verb. Stick with impact in its noun form. These days so many nouns are being converted to verbs incorrectly. This is called verbing, the act of turning nouns into verbs. Recognizable commonplace examples include:

  • Impact
  • Showcase
  • Workshop
  • Shoulder
  • Access
  • Interface
  • Fellowship  

If the meeting shutdown lasts more than a month, the committee will need to workshop ways of incorporating more virtual training opportunities. No.

Let’s interface over coffee once we’re past the 14-day quarantine. No.

Remember the good old days when we used to fellowship during weekly pot-luck lunches. No.

Even though some style guides and even the dictionary may list impact as a verb, it is a frowned-upon usage by grammar purists.

Keep the questions coming. Tag me with yours below.



To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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