1. Comprise is often confused with compose, consist, and constitute. All four words are used to describe how parts make up a whole, but they start from different ends of the equation. Comprise has the whole as its subject and its parts as the object, e.g. The top floor comprises three bedrooms and a bathroom. Consist of takes the same perspective, and one could equally say The top floor consists of three bedrooms and a bathroom, although it is more usual to use consist of with reference to ideas and concepts rather than physical things. It would be incorrect to reverse the construction with comprise in the form ☒ Three bedrooms and a bathroom comprise the top floor. The correct words to use here are compose, constitute, or (more informally) make up. See also include.
2. It is even less correct to confuse comprise with consist and adopt a hybrid construction comprise of or be comprised of. Examples of correct uses:

• Love comprises among other things a desire for the well-being and spiritual freedom of the one who is loved —Muriel Spark, 1984

• Our opposing team comprised school friends Arnie, 27, a teacher, and Danny, 26, a film director —Evening Standard, 2007.

Examples of incorrect uses:

• Seven boys comprised the choir —Garrison Keillor, 1985

• Rivers in this area are mainly comprised of domestic and industrial effluent, and many have been fishless in living memory —K. Hawkins, 1993

• As this team of scientists was comprised entirely of men the experiment necessarily involved letting the male subjects design computerised images of their ideal women —Observer, 2007.

include, comprise
Like comprise, include has the whole as its subject and its parts as the object. The difference is that comprise generally denotes the whole set of parts whereas include can be selective, so that if a house comprises two living rooms, two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom, there are six rooms in all, whereas if the house includes these rooms there may be others as well. Include is often used to single out a particular item or subset, in which case comprise is again inappropriate:

• The study…found that women preferred to use text or email to communicate. The survey did not include work calls but did count conversations with banks or insurance companies —Express, 2007.

See also comprise.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Comprise — Com*prise , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Comprised}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Comprising}.] [From F. compris, comprise, p. p. of comprendre, L. comprehendere. See {Comprehend}.] To comprehend; to include. [1913 Webster] Comprise much matter in few words. Hocker …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • comprise — I verb aggregate, amount to, be composed of, be formed of, be made of, consist of, constitute, contain, embody, embrace, encapsulate, encompass, hold, include, incorporate, involve, subsume, total associated concepts: comprising a cause of action …   Law dictionary

  • comprise — ► VERB 1) be made up of; consist of. 2) (also be comprised of) make up; constitute. USAGE Traditionally, comprise means ‘consist of’ and should not be used to mean ‘constitute or make up (a whole)’. However, a passive use of comprise is becoming… …   English terms dictionary

  • comprise — early 15c., to include, from O.Fr. compris, pp. of comprendre to contain, comprise (12c.), from L. comprehendere (see COMPREHEND (Cf. comprehend)). Related: Comprised; comprising …   Etymology dictionary

  • comprise — UK US /kəmˈpraɪz/ verb [T] ► to have as parts or members, or to be those parts or members: »Teams are created to work on one specific project, and are comprised of people who have very different skills. »Manufacturing comprises 14% of the state s …   Financial and business terms

  • comprise — [v] make up, consist of add up to, amount to, be composed of, be contained in, compass, compose, comprehend, constitute, contain, cover, embody, embrace, encircle, enclose, encompass, engross, form, hold, include, incorporate, involve, span,… …   New thesaurus

  • comprise — [kəm prīz′] vt. comprised, comprising [ME comprisen < OFr compris, pp. of comprendre < L comprehendere,COMPREHEND] 1. to include; contain 2. to consist of; be composed of [a nation comprising thirteen states] 3. to make up; form; constitute …   English World dictionary

  • comprise — verb (not in progressive) formal 1 (linking verb) to consist of particular parts, groups etc: The house comprises 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room. | be comprised of: The city s population is largely comprised of Asians and Europeans. 2… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Comprise — Wikipedia does not have an encyclopedia article for Comprise (search results). You may want to read Wiktionary s entry on Comprise instead.wiktionary:Special:Search/Comprise …   Wikipedia

  • comprise — /kəmˈpraɪz / (say kuhm pruyz) verb (t) (comprised, comprising) 1. to comprehend; include; contain: an analysis comprising all the data to hand. 2. to consist of; be composed of: *Mr Namaliu said the security forces, which comprise troops, police… …  

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