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Collage vs. College (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use collage vs. college on with Grammar Rules from the Writer’s Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

This week, let’s look at how collage and college differ. One of these words refers to something most people have probably created at one time or another. The other word refers to a group of people, a building, and/or an institution.

(Grammar rules for writers.)

So let’s piece together the meanings of collage and college.

Collage vs. College

Collage is a noun that refers to something that is pieced together with diverse fragments. For instance, a collage could be an image that pieces together several clippings of images from magazines and newspapers. Or a collage film may piece together several film clips into one piece. 

(Do writers need to go to college?)

College, on the other hand, is a noun that most often refers to a group of people for a purpose. For instance, a college could be a group of clergy living together or a group of electors, such as with the electoral college. Of course, it can also refer an educational or religious institution—or even the building that houses them.

Make sense?

Here are a couple examples:

Correct: He cut out some pictures to add to his collage for art class.
Incorrect: He cut out some pictures to add to his college for art class.

Correct: She was the first person in her family to attend college.
Incorrect: She was the first person in her family to attend collage.

A person could make a collage at college, but you can’t make a college at collage. If you need a way to keep these straight, associate the “a” in “collage” with “art,” since most collages require some form of creativity or artistic vision. Meanwhile, the “e” in “college” could be associated with education.


No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

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