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I can’t figure out whether the following sentence needs the word on or not:

  1. It was getting crowded, impeding our ability to move around.

  2. It was getting crowded, impeding on our ability to move around.

For some reason, both sound just a little bit wrong to me.

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Given the type of question you’ve asked, I think you might be interested in our sister site for English Learners. ELL tends to be a better fit for these sorts of questions than ELU does. – tchrist Mar 20 '13 at 15:06
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Impede simply means hinder or possibly prevent or delay:

impede verb [with object]
delay or prevent (someone or something) by obstructing them; hinder:
the sap causes swelling which can impede breathing


It doesn't take a preposition.

Impinge does take a preposition; something impinges on something else if it has an effect on it:

impinge verb (impinges, impinging, impinged) [no object]
have an effect, especially a negative one:
several factors impinge on market efficiency
• advance over an area belonging to someone or something else; encroach:
  the proposed fencing would impinge on a public bridleway
• (impinge on/upon) Physics strike:
  the gases impinge on the surface of the liquid


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