Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Comprise

with 2 comments

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Image via Wikipedia

The word ‘comprise’ stands alone and you should not add ‘of’, as in ‘comprise of’ or  ‘comprises of’.

This is because ‘comprise’ means ‘made up of’ or ‘consists of’, so if you write ‘comprise of’ you are, in effect, writing ‘made up of of’, or ‘consists of of’.

So the following are correct:

The group comprises a number of listed companies.

The drink will comprise a number of secret ingredients.

Our changing language

Apparently, it is becoming acceptable to write ‘is comprised of’. For example:

The group is comprised of a number of listed companies.

See Oxford Dictionaries on this.

However, it’s still not OK to write ‘comprise of’ or ‘comprises of’.

More commonly confused words and phrases

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2 Responses

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  1. I hear “comprised of” a lot in my biz. So much that I dint realize it was incorrect.

    Michael Farrell

    08/04/2010 at 8:07 pm

    • Hi, Michael — I don’t think ‘comprised of’ can be said to be incorrect. The Oxford Dictionary of English explains that it has become increasingly acceptable to use this construction. However, it is still definitely incorrect to write ‘comprise of’ or ‘comprises of’.

      Deborah

      08/04/2010 at 8:51 pm


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