Compose vs Comprise
As comprise and compose fall under the category of words that have similar meanings but differ in the way they are to be used we should pay attention to understanding the difference between compose and comprise. Some people for whom English is a second language remain terrified with these two words, comprise and compose. They even try to avoid the use of comprise and compose when they are using English language at all costs as they just cannot seem to use them correctly. Well, knowing when to use comprise and compose is not so difficult to master if you follow some guidelines that are discussed in this article.
What does Comprise mean?
If one goes by their dictionary meaning, the words compose and comprise seem innocuous enough. To comprise means to contain. If someone says the home comprises five rooms, what he means to say is that the home contains five rooms. Remember, whenever someone is using comprise, he is talking about parts that make up whole. In the context of playing cards, you can say that the pack comprises fifty-two cards. Moreover, as a word comprise is used as a verb. The verb comprise has its origins in the Late Middle English.
What does Compose mean?
Let us now check on the meaning of compose. Look at the following sentences.
This compound is composed of molecules of so and so elements.
This sentence is right.
Many ethnic groups compose our nation.
You can very well make this sentence using comprise. How?
Our nation comprises many ethnic groups.
Another point to note is that ‘is composed of’ is grammatically correct whereas you cannot use ‘is comprised of’. You can say that our nation is composed of many ethnic groups, but you cannot say that our nation is comprised of many ethnic groups.
Similarly, if one says the following sentence it is correct.
Water molecule is composed of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen.
However, you cannot say that the water molecule is comprised of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. Nevertheless, as a general rule, of never comes after comprised.
Apart from all this information, as a word compose is a verb. As the history suggests, the verb compose comes from Late Middle English. It comes from the Old French word composer.
What is the difference between Compose and Comprise?
• Comprise and compose basically have the same meaning.
• To comprise means to contain.
• Though of follows compose generally as a rule of does not follow comprise.
• In other words, you can say composed of but you cannot say comprised of. That is a basic rule when using comprise and compose when using English language.
• Comprise and compose are verbs.
• Comprise only has one meaning as “consist of; be made up of.” On the other hand, compose has several meanings. Compose could mean “write or create,” “(of elements) constitute or make up (a whole, or a specified part of it),” “calm or settle (oneself or one’s features or thoughts)” or “prepare (a text) for printing by manually, mechanically, or electronically setting up the letters and other characters in the order to be printed.”
Hope this explanation helps those who remain confused about the usage of compose and comprise.