General Writing and Grammar Help/Collect & gather

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Question
Dear Ted:

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

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

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

As always, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

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

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

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

*** In your examples, either word is correct.  "Collect" is more commonly used than "gather."

There are instances when the two words should NOT be interchanged.

The treasurer COLLECTED the dues money from each member of the group.

  NOTE:  Anytime money is involved, I recommend using the word "collect."

When the deranged man entered the school carrying several guns, the teachers did their best to GATHER the students into a safe place.

  NOTE:  When you are talking about people or things that can be brought together into one group, you should use GATHER.  EXAMPLE:  The farmer and his family GATHERED all the crops, before the tornado hit their farm.

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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