1. No other species has caused as much impact on the planet as us.

I am curious to know if it is correct to paraphrase the above sentence as follows:

  1. No other species has exerted as much influence over the planet as us.

Actually, I want to know which was is correct and suitable?

In dictionary, influence means:

the power to have an effect on people or things, or to affect or change how someone or something develops, behaves, or thinks

while impact means:

a powerful effect that something, especially something new, has on a situation or person.

Therefore, I guess the second sentence is not correct because our activities do not change the plant's opinions it affect its situation!

However, it can be correct if we think that our impact on the earth, kind of makes the earth change its behavior or they way it functions. If we look at it this way, we should accept that planet is alive! Maybe the second sentence is also correct metaphorically?

  • Could you clarify your question? I don't understand what you are asking. Jul 14, 2021 at 2:55
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    One, the preposition used with "impact" is "on," not "over. Two, in academia and among English purists, the bastardization of "impact" is a matter of much consternation. In formal communication, especially where it will be reviewed by academics or highbrow literati, one would do well to avoid using the verb "impact" in such a manner, not unless having them look down their noses at you is your objective. That said, in the vernacular, the language of the common people, both your sentences are fine, but they differ somewhat in meaning or effect, if that's what you're asking, which isn't clear. Jul 14, 2021 at 2:59
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    @FeliniusRex I tried. could you take a look again?
    – a.toraby
    Jul 14, 2021 at 3:02
  • In certain circles, especially academia, using "impact" to mean "affect" is as much a travesty and all-out assault on the English language as using "irregardless" to mean "regardless," "could care less" to mean "couldn't care less," and "repulsive" to mean "repellant," these neologistic definitions having since been added to dictionaries, just like so many similarly born out of widespread misuse among the great unwashed, notwithstanding. Jul 14, 2021 at 3:30
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    @Benjamin Harman, the controversy you have referred to surrounds the use of "impact" as a verb, not the use of it as a noun, which is the way OP is using it here. See Garner and Webster. Jul 14, 2021 at 6:37

1 Answer 1


The definition you quoted says "... affect or change how.. something... develops ...". I think that can reasonably be applied to the earth.

I would say that the difference between these two words is that impact is stronger but more short-lived, whereas influence is weaker but carries on for a longer time.

A 30-second TV advert might have an impact, but a schoolteacher might influence their students.

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