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Many of us long to be considered a bit more educated, erudite, and complex than we actually are. Naturally, we choose fancy-sounding words; just as naturally, we misuse them with abandon and correct others who attempt to set us straight. Comprise is one such word, and it is incumbent upon us to use it properly.


  • My apple pie is comprised of apples, sugar, sherry, spices, and bay leaf.
  • His CD collection ran the gamut from A to B; it was comprised of classic rock.
  • The assignment will be comprised of research, stalling, writing, and fretting.


Comprise means “to consist of.” When you write or say comprised of, you have an extra “of” in there. The result is, tragically, “comprised of of.” Instead of writing apple pie is comprised of of apples and other ingredients, simply write apple pie comprises apples and other ingredients. Presto!


From Latin, “to include or consist of,” comprise is complete as is. The trick to using it properly is to substitute it for the word include(s). My students’ essays comprise good ideas and grammatical errors, while my colleagues’ ideas comprise good ideas and the research to back them up.

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