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Is It Comprised Or Composed

Published by at February 14th, 2024 , Revised On February 29, 2024

Remembering the Rule:
A handy mnemonic to keep in mind:

  • “The whole comprises, the parts compose.”

The English language, A dazzling mosaic of words woven together to express thoughts, feelings, and stories. Yet, even its beauty can be tarnished by the occasional trip-up, and two such confusing words for many are the verbs “comprised” and “composed”.


Let’s begin with “comprised.” The word “comprise” means to include or contain, encompassing all the elements that make up a whole. It is often used to express the idea that something is composed of several parts. However, the confusion arises when writers use “comprised of,” which is a common but incorrect construction.

    • Incorrect: The team is comprised of talented individuals.
    • Correct: The team comprises talented individuals.

In the correct example, we use “comprises” to convey that the team includes or is made up of talented individuals. It’s important to note that “comprise” doesn’t need the preposition “of” to function properly.

Examples Of Comprised

  • The team is comprised of talented individuals from various backgrounds.
  • The comprehensive report is comprised of several sections, each addressing a specific aspect of the project.
  • The collection comprises rare artefacts dating back to the ancient civilisation.
  • The committee is comprised of experts in the field, ensuring a thorough evaluation of the research proposal.
  • The menu is comprised of a diverse range of dishes, catering to different culinary preferences.
  • The jury is comprised of individuals with extensive knowledge and experience in the legal domain.
  • The book is comprised of three volumes, each delving into a different era of the historical timeline.


On the other hand, “composed” is a verb that implies creating or forming something by putting together various parts. Unlike “comprise,” “composed” doesn’t have the same ambiguity in usage. When we say something is “composed of,” we are indicating the elements that make up the whole.

Example: The painting is composed of vibrant colours and intricate details.

In this instance, “composed of” is appropriate because it correctly conveys that the painting is made up of vibrant colours and intricate details.

Examples Of Composed

  • The artist composed a breathtaking symphony of colours on the canvas, creating a masterpiece.
  • The committee is composed of dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to address community issues.
  • The poem is beautifully composed, with each stanza contributing to the overall theme of love and nature.
  • The novel is composed of intricate plot twists that keep readers on the edge of their seats.
  • The photograph is composed perfectly, capturing the essence of the picturesque landscape.
  • The music piece is composed for a full orchestra, showcasing the composer’s skill in arranging various instruments.
  • The speech was eloquently composed, weaving together anecdotes and statistics to make a compelling argument.

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The Difference Between Comprised And Composed

To better grasp the difference between “comprised” and “composed,” it’s essential to remember their respective roles in a sentence. “Comprise” focuses on the whole and its parts, emphasising inclusion, while “composed” centres on the act of creating or forming something, highlighting the elements that constitute the whole.

Let’s illuminate this difference between comprised and composed through concrete examples:

  • Comprised: “The United States Congress comprises two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.” Here, the emphasis is on the overall structure of Congress, built upon two distinct components.
  • Composed: “The composer spent months composing a symphony, meticulously arranging notes to evoke grand emotions.” This sentence focuses on the act of creation, the individual notes being moulded into a cohesive piece of music.

Correcting Common Misuses

    • Incorrect: The novel is comprised of three main characters.
    • Correct: The novel comprises three main characters.
    • Incorrect: The committee is comprised of five members.
    • Correct: The committee comprises five members.

By using “comprises” and “composed” correctly, you enhance the precision of your language and convey your thoughts more effectively.

Examples To Show The Difference

  • The United States comprises fifty states.
    In this example, “comprises” is used to indicate that the United States includes or is made up of fifty states.
  • The symphony orchestra is composed of talented musicians.
    Here, “composed” accurately conveys that the symphony orchestra is formed by bringing together talented musicians.
  • The team comprises experts from diverse fields.
    In this instance, “comprises” is used to express that the team includes experts from various fields.
  • The mosaic is composed of intricately arranged tiles.
    “Composed of” is fitting in this case, as it correctly describes how the mosaic is made up of intricately arranged tiles.
  • The curriculum is comprised of several core subjects.
    This example is corrected by using “composed of” instead of “comprised of” to convey that the curriculum is formed by several core subjects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Use “comprised” when emphasising inclusion or making up a whole, and use “composed” when highlighting the act of creation or formation. For instance, “The team is comprised of skilled members” emphasises inclusion, while “The team is composed of skilled members” emphasises the act of bringing skilled individuals together.

Both “comprised of” and “composed of” are commonly used, but traditionally, many style guides recommend “composed of” for clarity. So, you could say, “The group is composed of enthusiastic individuals.” However, usage may vary, and both expressions are generally acceptable in modern English.

“Constitute” means to form or make up a whole. “Comprise” means to include or be made up of. “Compose” means to create or make by combining various elements. While “constitute” focuses on elements forming something, “comprise” emphasises inclusion, and “compose” centres on the act of creation.

“Composed” refers to the act of creating something by putting together various parts. It emphasizes the process of formation. In contrast, “contain” refers to holding or enclosing elements within a space. While “composed” emphasizes creation, “contain” highlights the containment or presence of elements within a specified area or object.

“Composed” is used to describe the act of creating or forming something by combining various elements. It is commonly used in the context of artistic works, music, literature, and other creative endeavors to convey the process of bringing together different parts to create a cohesive and harmonious whole.

“Comprised” is used in a sentence to indicate the inclusion or composition of parts within a whole. For example: “The committee is comprised of experts from diverse fields.” In this sentence, “comprised” communicates that the committee is made up of experts, emphasizing the inclusion of individuals from various backgrounds.

Example of “compose”: The artist skillfully composed a symphony of colours on the canvas, creating a vibrant masterpiece.

Example of “comprise”: The team comprises individuals with expertise in marketing, finance, and technology, forming a well-rounded and capable group for the project.

About Alvin Nicolas

Avatar for Alvin NicolasNicolas has a master's degree in literature and a PhD degree in statistics. He is a content manager at ResearchProspect. He loves to write, cook and run. Nicolas is passionate about helping students at all levels.