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comprise - vocabulary

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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comprise - verb

To include, contain, consist of.

Note: Correct, and traditional usage, requires the use of comprise in a way whereby the whole comprises the parts, as in The United States comprises 50 states. Increasingly, writers use the verb in a passive-voice construction: to be comprised of, as in The United States is comprised of 50 states.

Consider the following usage note from

Comprise has had an interesting history of sense development. In addition to its original senses, dating from the 15th century, “to include” and “to consist of” (The United States of America comprises 50 states), comprise has had since the late 18th century the meaning “to form or constitute” (Fifty states comprise the United States of America). Since the late 19th century it has also been used in passive constructions with a sense synonymous with that of one of its original meanings “to consist of, be composed of”: The United States of America is comprised of 50 states. These later uses are often criticized, but they occur with increasing frequency even in formal speech and writing.

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Next Word: condescend Previous Word: compunction

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