Wednesday, 5 December 2007
There was an excellent post yesterday on Mighty Red Pen explaining how to correctly use the verb 'to comprise'. I have to admit that in the past I've made the following mistake during speech.
- The sample was . . . comprised of 50 10th grade sections.
- The team . . . was comprised of educators, policy analysts, education decision makers, and researchers and consultants.
Nothing is ever ‘comprised of’ something. To comprise means ‘to contain or to embrace.’” AP Stylebook states, “Compose means to create or put together. It is commonly used in both the active and passive voices. . . . Comprise means to contain, to include all or embrace. It is best used only in the active voice.
Use comprise in the active voice. For example, 'comprises' or 'comprising' are acceptable uses.
HRH MRP finishes the post with a great quote.
At times like these, I like to end with the gentle wisdom of H.W. Fowler, who says sweetly, “This lamentably common use of comprise as a synonym for compose or constitute is a wanton and indefensible weakening of our vocabulary.”
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