When A impacts B, do we always say "A has an impact on B"? Or does it depend on what A and B are? For example, is it right to say, "the recession had a great impact in Dubai?"

I have also seen the proposition "to" being used with the word impact.

Which is the correct form?

  • "Impact in Dubai" would be fine, if you were to then discuss the segments of the Dubai economy and/or population that were affected.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 4:16

5 Answers 5


I don't do "correct", but I would normally use "impact on".

Any other preposition I would interpret as an adjunct, not a complement (i.e. not part of the meaning of "impact", but saying something about the where, the when or the how).

So I would interpret "a great impact in Dubai" as "a great impact on something obvious from context, in Dubai".

The only like case I can think of for "impact to" would be something like "have a great impact to new arrivals", meaning "have a great impact on something unspecified, as perceived by new arrivals".

Edit: it occurs to me that "impact" now has a separate meaning that doesn't require a complement at all. So "make a great impact in Dubai" is perhaps an example of this: the "in Dubai" is still an adjunct. "Make a great impact on Dubai" would says that it is somehow changing Dubai or its people.


Impact on means "a marked effect or influence"; impact means "the action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another."

Our regional measures have had a significant impact on unemployment.
There was the sound of a third impact.

You could use impact in in sentences similar to the following one:

The government's measures had had a significant impact on the economy; the impact in our town has been even more evident.

In the second sentence, "on the economy" is implicit, after "the impact."


"Impact from" when something had happened out of that impact. Eg: All were killed due to the impact from the crash.

  • 1
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    – user140086
    Commented Dec 23, 2015 at 4:20

"Impact to" is something I had never encountered until 2018, and am now coming across it in the workplace (GB). It grates badly, as it is patently wrong. An impact, is always ON something, or someone.


In effective writing, the word "impact" should be used ON something or ON someone. I haven't encountered from many years studying English about using impact with the preposition TO joining it, e.g. impact on faith and belief vs. impact to faith and belief.

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