Comprise Definition ›› Difference Between Comprise and Compose

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Comprise

Has two definitions. It can mean for something to consist of or be made up of something. This word speaks to the individual pieces that make up a certain thing. A computer is comprised of many parts, including the monitor, keyboard, hard drive, and motherboard.

  • The United Kingdom is comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  
  • One of the parts that this machine is comprised of has a patent on it.

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Comprise 

Can also be used to say that something makes up or constitutes a certain amount of something. When the word is used in this way, it is often speaking about the amount or percentage of the whole somthing accounts for.

  • One company comprises the majority of the market share.
  • Which activity comprises most of your day?

A word that is commonly misused or confused with comprise is compose. The words are spelled similarly, but they have different definitions, and are used in different ways, and for different reasons. Her are the definitions for compose.

Compose

Most commonly means to make or create something. This definition is most commonly used when speaking about works of art, in particular music or poetry. A composer is the person who creates the music.

  • Mozart composed his first piece of music when he was six years old.
  • She often spent weeks, and sometimes months alone while she composed her poetry.

It can also be used to speak about writing a phrase or a letter  with care or thought.

  • It took her hours to compose the letter to her father detailing what had happened.
  • It took him ten years to compose his first book.

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Compose

Can also mean to arrange something in a certain way, especially if it’s in an artistic way.

  • She worked with the company to compose the dance.
  • The little girl composed her project with flowers she had picked from her yard.

The word can also speak to being a certain part of an entire group.

  • I represent a group that composes over sixty percent of the known plaintiffs.
  • What we have so far composes 3 out of 4 of the chairs that we need to go with the table.

Compose

Can also mean to calm or steady oneself. It means to have composure or poise. This word is often used when someone is under a lot of pressure, but is behaving in a clam and clear headed way.

  • The little girl was more composed when presenting than the man four times her age, who presented before her.
  • Whomever does this job has to be able to stay composed when people are throwing difficult questions at them.

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Comprise vs Compose

As you can see compose has many more meanings than comprise. However in the simplest terms comprise speaks to the individual parts that it take to make something. When one speaks of what an object or idea is comprised of, that thing is already made.

 Compose speaks to the process of creating something, especially if that something is artistic. A play is comprised of scenes that were composed by the playwright. A song is comprised of lyrics and music that was composed by the artists.  

There is one meaning that both words share, and the two words can be used interchangeable to convey it. They both can be used to speak about something being part of the whole.

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Synonyms for Comprise

Contain

Means to have, or hold something or someone. It can also mean to make up a certain part of the whole group.

  • The team contains the two best players in the league.

Encompass

Means to have, surround, hold, or include something completely.

  • Their love was all encompassing.

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Synonyms for Compose

Formulate

Means to create and devise something methodically. It can also mean to express an idea in a concise or precise way.

  • The man took a moment to think before he formulated his answer to the question.

Arrange

Refers to putting things together in a certain planned out order. It can also mean to organize or make plans. As a synonym for compose it can also be used to speak about creating music.

  • Our choir teacher chose a musical arrangement that best fit our voices.

Constitute

As a synonym to compose means to be part of a whole. This is also a synonym for comprise.

  • Surprisingly women constitute the majority of the workforce.

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