Today I read two separate Bubblews posts that used the words college and collage. They used them incorrectly, so I thought, first of all, what a coinky-dink, then I thought, well, that looks like a good topic for a post!
I'm a copy editor and see these kinds of errors every day. I sometimes make these kinds of errors but after reading my writing, I usually catch them. So here's a quick tutorial on using the words college and collage.
The first definition of college by Merriam-Webster is "body of clergy living together and supported by a foundation," but that's not what we generally think of when we hear the word college. We think of the second definition: a building used for an educational or religious purpose. So when someone goes to college (a place for higher learning, after high school), it's spelled college, with an e before the g.
And Merriam-Webster defines collage thusly: an artistic composition made of various materials (as paper, cloth, or wood) glued on a surface. So, when we talk about an art collage, it is spelled with an a before the g.
How to Remember the Two Spellings
An easy way to remember how to spell each is that the word collage has an a and a stands for art. College has an e and the e stands for education.
Is spelling tricky for you sometimes? What words trip you up?