Compose or Comprise



to combine together to form a whole
SYNONYM make up
Ten men compose the committee.


to be the parts or members that form something
SYNONYM make something up
Older people comprise a large proportion of those living in poverty.




I know about the difference between compose and comprise, but sometimes I feel like they are interchangeable for the same meaning and both words are synonym with make up for the meaning so I could say,


Ten men comprise the committee.

Older people compose a large proportion of those living in poverty.


And whether the verb is comprise or compose, there is no meaning difference or is there a way to find a correct word?


Thank you so much as usual in advance.

asked Feb 19 '14 at 10:39 Hans Contributor

1 answer


'Comprise' means 'to contain', 'compose' means 'to combine'.

Think of 'comprise' or 'composed of' as linking verbs and compose as an action verb.

Ten men comprise the committee.

Here, committee = ten men.  The men are what the committee is made of.  Avoid using the word 'of' with comprise.


When you use 'compose' to describe the make up of something, you will use the word 'of'.

The committee is composed of ten men.

I wouldn't use 'Ten men compose the committee.' because without the 'of', it would indicate that the ten men are performing some action rather than just being members.

link comment answered Feb 19 '14 at 15:32 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

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