Improve Your English: Comprise vs. Compose

comprise-vs-composeOver and over again you hear people mixing up the two words Comprise and Compose. They may sound similar, but have entirely different meanings, and are commonly confused for each other, most often with the word comprised being used where the word composed is correct.

Let’s start with the meaning of each word:

  • Comprise: Consist of
  • Compose: To make up or form by combining things, parts or elements

To do a quick check as to which word would be appropriate in your sentence, replace the word Comprise or Compose with its meaning, like this:


  • Original: The United States is comprised of 50 states.
  • With meaning inserted: The United States consists of 50 states.

Sounds awkward, doesn’t it?


Let’s use the meaning of the word “Composed” instead:

  • With meaning inserted: The United States is made up of 50 states.

That’s a lot better. Therefore, the original sentence should correctly read, “The United States is composed of 50 states.”

How to use Comprise

A simple way to use the word “Comprise” is to remove the “is” and “of” in your sentence.  Instead of “The United States is comprised of 50 states,”  the sentence “The United States comprises 50 states” would be correct in this usage.

Hire a Professional Copywriter

It always pays to have a professional copywriter look over your scripts, marketing pieces, website copy, blogs, white papers, and any other written materials before you issue them to the public. Show the public you know what you’re talking about by using correct English.

If you need a professional copywriter, contact All the Buzz.

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