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  • Richard Farr

Suffering from an impacted adjective

This morning’s Seattle Times sports section has an entire page devoted to Seahawks owner Paul Allen, who died yesterday. The ghastly headline:

Quiet, but impactful.

I hate impactful, because it idly mixes two metaphors: an impact is the result of an action (fist, asteroid); it makes no sense to be (a bag? a box?) full of such impacts.

Why they couldn’t have used influential, or effective, I don’t know; the result would have been more effective, and perhaps more influential.

Mind you, I don’t like that comma either. Quiet but effective suggests Deliberately undemonstrative; adding the comma suggests that the quietness itself is a flaw, to be forgiven in the face of the virtue that’s listed next.


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