Saturday, July 7, 2007

Now They're Just Making Up Words - Is There Anything They Won't Try?

I was watching NFL Live last night on ESPN (what can I say - I needed some football) when the World Wide Leader ran out a segment on the "Most Impactful" rookies for next year. It was right on the screen - "Most Impactful" - as they were blabbering about Calvin Johnson and some 'backer from the U that I'd never heard of.

All the while, I'm thinking - is "impactful" even a word? Are they just making up words at this point, like they did with "spurtability"? Is this what happens when NFL Live is on in July? Are the real editors with college degrees over at Baseball Tonight, or on vacation, and NFL Live is left with the nitwits or the interns?

Curious, I Googled it (is "Googled" a word? probably not) and here's some of the fun stuff I came up with:

Paul Brians, a professor of English at Washington State University, cites the use of the word impactful as one of his common list of errors in the English language:

Many people in business and education like to speak of things that have an impact as being “impactful,” but this term does not appear in most dictionaries and is not well thought of by traditionalists. Use “influential” or “effective” instead.

This from an ABC News Radio story about the word "impactful":

this ugly and unnecessary word appears to have been coined by American journalists. And we should leave it where we found it – in the rubbish bin of American journalism.

Ooooookay. Must have been a British report. Rubbish, indeed.

I discovered that people actually blame the advertising agencies for making up this word. Which makes sense, since ESPN is all about cross-marketing and advertising these days, rather than sports.


Wrigleyville said...

Just so you know, that Cardinals team you're worried about gave up seven runs on 10 hits, while committing four errors in a loss to the lousy Giants.

Bill said...

Matt, great post. Outside the box and unexpected.

I enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

To be honest Mr. Wrigleyville, I am worried about staying healthy and playing Brewers baseball more than I am worried about any of the teams in the NL Central. I'd watch out for the Reds though. I heard they are inquiring about Joey Meyer, Charlie Hayes, and even former Cub Doug Dacenszo. Are you worried about the Crew? Or are you just running your mouth while your team is hot, only to disappear when your team goes on a 5 day binge? Bring on the good natured ribbing b/c it is another slow week at work!

Anonymous said...


I need a name for the group of 50 people that I am taking to the Brewers vs. D'backs game on July 16th. Some popular requests have been, Chuck Crim's Crew, JJ's Junkies, Bosio's Brigade, Pat Listach's Legion, and Bob Hameline's Herd.

Anonymous said...

How about..."Mike Adams' Alcoholics"?
--BraunBack Mt

AP said...

When I do our Brewer group outings our handle is "Admiral Ackbar's Deep Space Freak-Out." Other than that I can't help you....

...I saw no mention from Wrigleyville that his team also crapped the bed against the Pirates, even though the Baby Bears dodged Gorzelanny & Snell & had Big Z going for them.

...I'd like to just quickly mention that Yost's handling of the bullpen Sunday was terrible. He's staring a 4 day break in the face (Johnny Wholestaff?) & he stuck with Crapuano in the 6th after he went BB, HR, BB, Single,BB, Sac Fly, and Single. I know you can say that it takes a long time to warm someone up, but my question is, "Why wasn't the whole staff ready to go at that point to begin the 6th inning?"

.....and lastly this was a great post Matt. Thanks for the link to the common English errors.