Trend Watch

Comprise

'Comprised of' or 'composed of'? One man has an answer ...


When:

Lookups spiked on February 4, 2015.

comprise-wikipedia-editor

Why:

An article about one particularly enthusiastic Wikipedia editor went viral among word nerds. It turns out that one man has made over 47,000 changes to Wikipedia articles, nearly all of them in order to change the phrase "comprised of" - his language pet peeve.

Comprise means "to include" or "to be made up of," as in "The play comprised three acts" or "Each army division comprised 4500 troops." Another meaning, "to compose" or "to constitute" (as in "The parts comprise the whole" or "A game is comprised of nine innings") has been attacked as wrong - especially in the passive form "is comprised of" - for about 100 years.

Since using "comprised of" may cause others to criticize your writing, it's safer to choose a synonym such as "compose" or "make up" ("A game is made up of nine innings").



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