comprises, comprised of, is composed of, includes ...

Well, your discussion about the usage of "comprise/comprised" combined with the preposition "of" is really very interesting. Recently this question was raised again at http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1651148 and the thread was closed there because it had already been discussed here (as I can see now) and thus everybody was redirected to this thread. Actually, I find the material gathered here quite useful for me, because I was also taught that "comprise" = "is comprised of". I do not remember now about exceptions (if they exist at all) but I have not heard up till now that "is comprised of" can be a mistake. In order to clarify this problem I looked up this word in two monolingual dictionaries and found the following:

1) Collins dictionary: If you say that something "comprises" or "is comprised of" a number of things or people, you mean that it has them as its parts or members. Examples: 1) The task force is comprised of congressional leaders, cabinet heads and administration officials. 2) A crowed comprised of the wives and children of scientists staged a demonstration

2) Cambridge dictionary: The class is comprised mainly of Italian and French students

How about this? Two well-known dictionaries suggest that the usage of "comprised of" is correct and possible. I agree that sometimes we gradually get used to using a word incorrectly so that finally this wrong usage penetrates our speech and becomes indistinguishable from a mistake. Then some time passes and this word appears in dictionaries and only linguists know that the usage is incorrect. Maybe this is just this very case. By the way, the example with "jealous" given earlier in this thread is a very good one indeed because some time ago I also used to use it incorrectly in the meaning of "jealous". So as a conclusion I think that if this trend is really so proliferating and so baneful we should try our best to combat it.
 
  • panjandrum

    Senior Member
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Time passes.
    Four years ago, way back in post #15 I wrote:
    Mr Burchfield, the current custodian of NFMEU, then lists a series of examples of the erroneous form "... is comprised of ...".

    These include: "Many of these words are comprised of monemes (1964);
    "It is incorrect to say 'It was comprised of 20 students' - Burchfield"
    And it concludes with the comment:
    "Opposition to this last construction is also weakening"
    It's evident from the examples that Dmitry has quoted that opposition continues to weaken, to the point that this "erroneous form" is now being promoted by otherwise-reputable dictionaries.
     
    Last edited:
    I think we have forgotten (or I have not noticed) the word "encompass". I will not claim that it is synonymous with "comprise" because this is perhaps too bold a conclusion, but it definitely belongs to the same group of words:

    The (whole) architectural ensemble of the Hermitage (Saint-Petersburg, Russia) encompasses 5 buildings (museums): the Winter Palace, the Small Hermitage, the Old Hermitage, the New Hermitage and the Hermitage theatre.

    "Comprise" will definitely work here, too. I think "contain" and "include" are also the options possible.
     

    Nonstar

    Senior Member
    Portuguese/SP
    I´ve just decided to try and contribute. Reading the Wordreference dictionary anyone can find the definition of comprise and see that is comprised of does not feature in it. I thought that if X comprises Y, then Y can only BE comprised IN X, this leads me to the assumption that X is unable to be comprised of Y. X can only comprise Y, or Y be comprised in X. I have been told language does work logically, granted, nevertheless it can help a lot!
    Please correct me or tell me not to write such things!! :)
     
    Last edited:

    stickweasel

    New Member
    english
    Comprises is the only correct usage! Comprises means consists of or made up of or even embraces or contains. If you say, "...comprised of..." you are actually saying, "... consists of OF..." or "... contains of...," because of is already in the meaning! It's the double of syndrome!

    Yes, it is true that way to many people say, "... comprised of..." and to me it's as irritating as hell. They are wrong wrong. It's just as wrong as the multitudes who say, "PIN number," which is actually saying, "personal identification number NUMBER," because PIN stands for Personal Identification Number. It's the double number syndrome! Just because a lot of other people do it, doesn't make it right. Think of all of our idiot presidents who say "Nucuelar." (nuclear) Arrrghh!

    Just remember: Comprised of - WRONG! Comprises of - WRONGER! Comprisesed of - WRONGEST! You will burn in the fires of hell for of of and number number. By by!
     
    Comprises is the only correct usage! Comprises means consists of or made up of or even embraces or contains. If you say, "...comprised of..." you are actually saying, "... consists of OF..." or "... contains of...," because of is already in the meaning! It's the double of syndrome!

    Yes, it is true that way to many people say, "... comprised of..." and to me it's as irritating as hell. They are wrong wrong. It's just as wrong as the multitudes who say, "PIN number," which is actually saying, "personal identification number NUMBER," because PIN stands for Personal Identification Number. It's the double number syndrome! Just because a lot of other people do it, doesn't make it right. Think of all of our idiot presidents who say "Nucuelar." (nuclear) Arrrghh!

    Just remember: Comprised of - WRONG! Comprises of - WRONGER! Comprisesed of - WRONGEST! You will burn in the fires of hell for of of and number number. By by!

    OK! I new that "comprised of" was wrong, but it is strange that some people still claim it is possible. Now I think many will revise their attitude to this matter because no one wants to burn in the fires of hell :)

    Best

    P.S. Maybe you are an inquisition executioner who has come from the medieval times and will go on persecuting Wordreference members for using double "Of" and double "number"?! :)
     

    broglet

    Senior Member
    English - England
    stickweasel - I agree wholeheartedly - welcome to the forum and thanks for such an invigorating maiden post, comprising all the essential arguments
     

    panjandrum

    Senior Member
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It's good to see the militant anti-comprised-of squad can still be as vociferous as ever.
    It's a lost cause, however.
    COCA lists one "is comprised of" for three "comprises".
    BNC lists one for eighteen, but then the most recent texts in the BNC are from 1993; a quick glance at the COHA shows a significant upsurge in usage of "is comprised of" in the last 10-15 years.

    BNC - British National Corpus
    COCA - Corpus of Contemporary American English
    COHA - Corpus of Historical American English
     

    broglet

    Senior Member
    English - England
    That's grand, panjandrum, but your evidence for 'comprised of' mostly comprises American references.

    In the UK I have often seen 'comprised of' used by estate agents, but in other walks of life I suspect that it continues to be considered incorrect (at least by those for whom linguistic incorrectness is a meaningful concept)
     

    nic456

    Senior Member
    UK
    alemán
    I agree that to comprise of and to be comprised of sounds horrifying.

    Probably the best explanation is etymology. Comprise can be traced to French comprendre (literally to take together) and Latin com-prehendere. Nowadays many speakers have become ignorant of the prefix, com, and its meaning, together. Figuratively, comprise would indicate a container full of items or items together. This semantic pointer is lost (full of, together), thus many perceive the need to use of and use consist of and comprise of interchangeably.

    Hope this helps
     

    benein

    Senior Member
    Korean
    <<moderator note : the following post has been added to this thread. Benein, Rule 1 is to search before posting a question - enter the words in the box at the top of thepage to find previous threads as well as a definition>>

    Hi everyone! :)
    I have a question. Please help me.


    [context]
    <1> The play comprises three acts.
    <2> The play is comprised of three acts.


    [question]
    What is the difference between the two?

    I guess that <1> implies that the play has more acts than the three. On the other hand, <2> suggests that the play only has three acts.

    What do you think about my guess?


    Thank you for reading my post! :D


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, I'm sorry. I should have searched the forum first. :eek:
    Thank you for pointing out this.

    After I read this thread, my question has been solved. :thumbsup:
    Thank you for moving my post!

    Have a good day! :D
     
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    < Response to post #60. Cagey, moderator. >

    No, and it is unlikely that the container comprises anything but a container.

    comprise = to be composed of; The "of" is included in the meaning.

    "The contents of this container comprise 400 tables and 1600 chairs."
    "The contents of this container are 20% tables and 80% chairs."
     
    Last edited by a moderator:
    Comprise, strictly speaking, means 'includes.' {no 'of'}
    The dance troupe comprises 20 Armenians from their National Academy.

    Casually, "is comprised of" may mean 'is composed of", but that's slack, in my opinion.
    This box is comprised of wood. :( {passable casually}

    Paul's suggestion, if I read him, is "This box comprises wood" :eek: {'of' allegedly included}
    is very odd to my ear. Although, "The contents of the carver's locker comprised pieces of wood and his tools" is OK, in my opinion.
     

    Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    For a descriptivist perspective on "comprised of," the American Heritage Dictionary offers this usage note:

    "The traditional rule states that the whole comprises the parts and the parts compose the whole. In strict usage: The Union comprises 50 states. Fifty states compose (or make up) the Union. Even though many writers maintain this distinction, comprise is often used in place of compose, especially in the passive: The Union is comprised of 50 states. Our surveys show that opposition to this usage has abated but has not disappeared. In the 1960s, 53 percent of the Usage Panel found this usage unacceptable; by 1996, the proportion objecting had declined to 35 percent; and by 2011, it had fallen a bit more, to 32 percent."
     

    Tony1931

    New Member
    English
    I view the word "of" in the phrase "is comprised of" as an old-fashioned equivalent of "by", a way of identifying what would have been the subject of the sentence if the active voice had been chosen rather than the passive. Thus "the whole is composed of the parts" is equivalent to "the parts compose the whole" Both of these statements seem to me to be acceptable. However, when it is correct to say that "the whole comprises the parts", as most authorities agree, then it would seem to be incorrect or at best not preferable to say "the parts comprise the whole", which is equivalent to "the whole is comprised of the parts" as demonstrated above with the verb "compose". So when leading with the parts, I prefer "compose", "make up" or "constitute", while when leading with the whole, "comprises" or "consists of" are my preferred ways of identifying the parts.
     

    broglet

    Senior Member
    English - England
    to my ear both 'comprises of' and 'comprised of' are solecisms used by ignorant people - especially estate agents - who are trying (but failing) to sound educated.

    Estate agent: this flat is comprised of two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen
    Educated person: this flat has two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    Hi..is comprising of, right?
    Hello kamalaziz,
    from the above posts, about 93% of native speakers strongly advise against 'comprise of' in any form, some would probably go as far as shoot you on hearing it.:cool:

    About progressive form: can you use 'is comprising'?
    Again, don't. See here: comprising
     

    nic456

    Senior Member
    UK
    alemán
    @siares Please DO provide context. In the linked thread they refer to the BNC, though without presenting any examples. Another poster does provide an example and is given a reply.
    For instance, I could use comprising as a participle: I am looking for a small flat comprising a living-room, a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen. While this does use the word you specified, it is the present participle but not used in a progressive tense.
    Else I believe it would be good if you selected a few examples from the BNC and posted them with your questions in the linked thread.
     

    siares

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    In the linked thread they refer to the BNC, though without presenting any examples.
    There are none:
    I've just skimmed the instances of "comprising" in the British National Corpus, and I didn't see any examples of its use as part of a progressive tense.
    Kalamaziz is not looking for a participle use..
    Kalamaziz, nic456 is right, you'd be better off posing your question in the other thread, this one is too long.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    @siares Please DO provide context. In the linked thread they refer to the BNC, though without presenting any examples. Another poster does provide an example and is given a reply.
    For instance, I could use comprising as a participle: I am looking for a small flat comprising a living-room, a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen. While this does use the word you specified, it is the present participle but not used in a progressive tense.
    Else I believe it would be good if you selected a few examples from the BNC and posted them with your questions in the linked thread.
    I'm puzzled, nic456: siares isn't asking a question, she's responding to one:confused:
    Hi..is comprising of, right? For example, The beach is comprising of 228 rooms.Thanks
    No, I'm afraid that doesn't work for me, kalamazis. It doesn't work on two counts:
    (1) there are no obvious grounds for using the present continuous tense.
    (2) "comprise of" doesn't work (at least, not for me).
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    As Loob says, plus:

    (3) I've never come across a beach with "rooms".

    Could you please clarify your sentence?
     

    Beluga99

    New Member
    Mandarin, Sichuan & Chongqing dialect
    [This question has been added to a previous existing thread on the same topic. DonnyB - moderator]
    Hi there. Just a little curious. According to some English dictionaries, it's better not to use this word in the structure "be comprised of" as it may draw some criticism. Yet I've seen the use of this structure so many times in news, podcast etc. So my Q: Do you often use it in your writing or prefer "be composed of" just to be on the safe side?
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I never use 'be comprised of': it's ungrammatical in my personal dialect. But it's now so common that I always allow it in any text (by other people) I'm editing. However, I change the even newer version 'comprises of'.
     

    abluter

    Senior Member
    British English
    It' often misused; it means "consist of"-"The book comprises 700 pages", but "700 pages comprise the book" is wrong . I think "comprises of" is always wrong, too.
     
    Top