I want to use the phrase in a letter going out to municipal authorities. Note that I have added submissions listing examples of the negative effects or negative impacts of the construction project. “We, the residents, impacted by the construction project”. Mmm, now I am wondering about the tense. Should it say “have been impacted by” or “ we, the residents, impacted by”... Or, We, the residents affected by...”

closed as primarily opinion-based by tchrist Mar 10 at 19:28

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Impact works better as a noun, as you show in your second sentence. – Hugh Mar 10 at 14:48
  • Have you been affected? Or are you still being affected? Are you asking them to “quit it” or are you asking them for compensation? Or to not do again? – Jim Mar 10 at 18:19
  • We, the residents, have been negatively impacted or affected by the construction project in the following ways: - [etc.] – Lambie Mar 10 at 19:38

If you're writing to municipal authorities, I suggest:

We, the residents, have been adversely affected by the construction project.

The first try:

We, the residents, impacted by the construction project.

is not a sentence. It is in the passive voice, because the residents are not impacting. Any of the following would be grammatically correct:

We, the residents, have been impacted by the construction project.
We, the residents, are impacted by the construction project.
We, the residents, will be impacted by the construction project.

I prefer "adversely affected" to its idiomatic counterpart "negatively impacted." Neither verb always implies a bad result, so it's best to make the fact that you are aggrieved clear with an adverb. "Adversely affected" will make them think a lawyer wrote the letter, and that's not a bad thing. Your Town Council will understand either formulation well enough.

And, no, this is not legal advice. (One can't be too careful these days.)

  • I too prefer "adversely affected," as one of the other meanings of "impacted" is a blocked bowel. – Mark Hubbard Mar 10 at 16:42
  • @MarkHubbard Maybe it's a sewer project, in which case I may have to reconsider my answer. – remarkl Mar 10 at 16:48
  • Thank you! +1 for that. – Mark Hubbard Mar 10 at 16:51
  • This is one occasion where the passive voice may be a good choice because it makes "we, the residents" the main topic of the sentence. – user323578 Mar 10 at 19:06
  • 1
    @James Don’t forget that most of the people who rave the strongest against the passive have no idea how to identify or avoid it themselves. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 10 at 19:59

The correct form is "affected by…". "Impact" is not a verb, but a noun. Although some people do use it as a verb, it is frowned upon in most professional circles.

  • "Is impact a verb? You may occasionally run into claims that impact is not a verb, or that it is somehow ill-suited to a role in this part of speech. Not only is that not the case, but the verb form of impact is much older than the noun form." merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impact – user323578 Mar 10 at 19:32
  • A distinguished old lawyer I worked for said the same thing about "contact." He would always write "Be in touch with me..." I don't know if he was right about "contact," but his choice was more elegant regardless. My problem with "impact" here is that it is a metaphor in a context that does not call for poetry. – remarkl Mar 10 at 21:26
  • I have a pretty low opinion of Noah Webster in general, but I'm not about to take up cudgels on the issue here, although I do find the downgrading disappointing. For a summing up of why the use of impact as a verb is frowned upon in professional circles there is plenty of information available on the Internet, for example:.... quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/impact-verb – user218195 Apr 27 at 8:31

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.