TIP: Comprise vs. Compose


It’s something we often skip over when reading — comprise/compose. Is there really a difference? Does it really matter that much which one we use? 

Actually, it does. When your audience knows the difference and you don’t, a tiny question of credibility seeps into your readers’ brains making them wonder if you don’t know the difference or if you were just being a lazy copy editor. Either is a distraction from your writing, and neither is an impression you want to give them.

So, what’s the difference anyway? 

  • Comprise means to “consist of; be made up of; to be composed of.”
  • Compose means either “to write or create (a work of art like music)” OR “(of elements) constitute or make up (a whole).”


Comprised is often misused for composed:

Wrong: The U.S. women’s national soccer team is comprised of 23 players who went to the World Cup.

Correct:  The U.S. women’s national soccer team is composed of 23 players who went to the World Cup.  


How to use comprise: 

The easiest way to stay out of trouble with this word is to NOT use it with “of.” 

Correct: The U.S. women’s national soccer team comprises forwards, midfielders, defensive players and a goalkeeper. 

Correct: The World Cup champions comprise the best players in the world, including Ali Krieger, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.

2020-01-30T03:35:35+00:00 January 20th, 2020|Proofreading Tips|0 Comments

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