The Opposite Of Grammar – Addendum, Being Composed Of, But Most Definitely Not Comprising All Complaints On The Topic

Have you noticed that almost nobody uses the word comprise and its various forms (comprised, comprising) correctly? Just this morning, in Supposedly Professional Print Media, I noticed a writer using comprised as a synonym for composed, which it is not. Both are used to describe the relation of parts to the whole, but not in the same manner.

Composed means, more or less, “made up of” — and when you say something is composed of  {these things} you may or may not be including all of the {things} of which it is made, opting for only the items most relevant to making your point.

To comprise means “to contain” and the correct usage will usually include ALL the parts making up the whole. Oh, and with comprise, the whole should come before the parts.

“The county softball league, comprising seven teams of middle-school-aged boys and girls, had its final tournament on May 29th before a surprisingly large crowd of supporters.”

“The decaying main house, comprising a crumbling commercial-sized kitchen, cavernous dining room, cramped servants’ quarters, a pretentious sitting room, no less than seven bathrooms and entirely too many bedrooms, was a counterpoint of elegance and abandonment.”

And if you ever, ever, EVER use the phrase “comprised of” — well, honey, you ain’t even close to being right. Those two words should never be neighbors.

Disclaimer: I hereby renounce any and all claims to knowledge of Proper Comma Usage. Either I never had a full grasp of that specific punctuation part, or if it has abandoned me along with my Internal Spell Check. My mind is going. I can feel it. Daisy…Daisy, give me your answer…do…I’m half…crazy…all for…the love…of…you…

About Bobbie Laughman

May vanish if startled. Professional Advice Dispenser. Amateur Human Being. Scam Detector. Christian. Grandma. Writer-ish. Artistic leanings. Anti-social. Old School Trekkie. Contains Nuts.
This entry was posted in advice and tips, Opinion, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Opposite Of Grammar – Addendum, Being Composed Of, But Most Definitely Not Comprising All Complaints On The Topic

  1. Pingback: Write Right: Comprise or Compose

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