General Writing and Grammar Help/Collect & gather

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Question
Dear Ted:

Should I use "collect" or "gather" in the following two examples?

1) I should have gone to bed early last night. During this morningís test paper I wasnít able to COLLECT / GATHER my thoughts together at all.

2) The market researcherís job was to COLLECT / GATHER data on the buying habits of 18-25 year olds.

Thank you very much for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Should I use "collect" or "gather" in the following two examples?

1) I should have gone to bed early last night. During this morningís test paper I wasnít able to COLLECT / GATHER my thoughts together at all.

2) The market researcherís job was to COLLECT / GATHER data on the buying habits of 18-25 year olds.

*** The two words are synonyms, and either one can be used in both sentences.

I can think of only ONE instance when you must use "collect" rather than "gather." It pertains to money.  Once a week the news boy COLLECTED the money for the newspaper from his customers.

When it comes to farming, there is ONE instance that "gather" is almost always used.  After the farmers GATHERED in their final crops, they settled in for the winter.

Ted  

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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