collect information vs. gather information

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, I'm trying to find out the difference (if there is) between these two expressions, but the dictionaries I use doesn't help on this and the other English learning forums are quite terrible in design so I couldn't concentrate on reading the posts. Below is an example survey report sentence which I've just made up.

Many respondents said they <collect / gather> information online when buying a new home appliance.

If both verbs are collect (I think so), what is the difference (if there is) between the two?
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Obtain :tick:

    Many respondents said they [had] obtained/searched for/made use of information online before buying a new home appliance.

    To collect/gather lacks the nuance that they did something with the information.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks Paul. Maybe my example above wasn't good. Please compare the following two sentences (which I made up now).

    1. I collected/gathered a lot of information from people around me.
    2. I obtained a lot of information from people around me.


    Which of these suggests that the speaker went out and actively looked for information by asking people questions?
    The respondents in the original post actively looked for information and obtained it.


    before buying
    This is something I've been wondering about. I too prefer "before", but people (at least Japanese market researchers I work for) think that "buying" isn't limited to the act of visiting the store and making the purchase. Some say "considering buying" is part of "buying". I don't know...
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Which of these suggests that the speaker went out and actively looked for information by asking people questions?
    There was nothing wrong with the question: it was the context. :) In the context you gave, collected implies a more methodical action than gathered.

    PS, I would omit "a lot of", which does not sound very professional, and replace it with "my" or "the" unless you mean "the majority of the information" - in which case, that is what you should say.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    In the context you gave, collected implies a more methodical action than gathered.
    That's good to know. :thumbsup:

    As for "a lot of information" in the example, it probably means "a large amount of information" or "many pieces of information" (if they are idiomatic :oops:).
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    As for "a lot of information" in the example, it probably means "a large amount of information" or "many pieces of information" (if they are idiomatic :oops:).
    My suggestion is more stylistic - the amount of information should either be (a) obvious to the reader or (b) compared to another source of information.
     
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