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Consumer:Giraffedata/comprised of – Wikipedia

Consumer:Giraffedata/comprised of – Wikipedia

2023-05-05 23:57:17

I’ve edited hundreds of articles in order that they don’t include the phrase “comprised of“. Edit summaries for these edits often confer with this web page.

This web page explains the aim of those edits and the mission generally.

“Comprise” in English[edit]

It’s undisputed that the unique which means of the phrase was to incorporate or
include, as in, “The ninth district contains all of Centerville and components of
Easton and Weston.” The entire contains the components; the components are comprised in
the entire. The etymology of the phrase would not assist every other conclusion.
However going again not less than a whole bunch of years, folks have been utilizing it
backwards, within the sense that the components comprise the entire or the entire is
comprised of the components. This yields, “The ninth district is comprised of all of
Centerville and components of Easton and Weston.” And even, “All of Centerville and
components of Easton and Weston comprise the ninth district.” That is apparently
as a result of “comprise” sounds loads like “compose”; one would possibly hear “the entire is
composed of the components” and “the entire contains the components” and merge the 2
in a single’s thoughts.

However this early utilization was simply negligent; it was all the time corrected by extra
expert writers. We all know that as a result of for many of these a whole bunch of years,
utilization remained on the identical very low degree. It was like “may of executed” is
right this moment. There’s a conventional saying to assist folks keep away from the error: “The
complete contains the components; the components compose the entire.”

After which the Nineteen Sixties occurred, and forcing pointless guidelines on folks for
issues like grammar fell out of favor. In these years, we see use of the
phrase “comprised of” skyrocket, and it has continued to extend since then.
Finally, the utilization was accepted sufficient that dictionaries acknowledged
“compose” as a secondary which means of “comprise”. However the language purists
by no means gave up. Whereas they would not drive others to stay to the unique
which means, they didn’t use the reverse sense in their very own writing, or something
they had been accountable for. They presumably disliked studying it as effectively.
Merriam-Webster’s utilization knowledgeable remarks that it’s extraordinary how folks
have clung to conventional comprise — English often modifications extra simply.
Utilization guides and magnificence manuals consequently all the time let you know not everybody
accepts comprise for compose, so the most effective recommendation is to keep away from it.

Nonetheless, folks right this moment be taught language by copying it greater than by finding out
linguistics, and the reverse utilization of comprise is not less than as widespread because the
authentic, in order that a fantastic many individuals right this moment will not be even conscious comprise ever
meant something however compose. Utilization guides have softened significantly over the
years, in some circumstances from “write this and everybody will know you are ignorant”
to “there’s nothing actually flawed with this, however your extra perfectionist
readers assume there’s, and it is advisable to accommodate them.”

My view[edit]

I imagine utilizing “comprised of” is poor writing, as a result of

  • It is fully pointless. There are lots of different methods to say what the author means by “comprised of”. It provides nothing to the language.
  • It is illogical for a phrase to imply two reverse issues.
  • The etymology of the phrase doesn’t assist “comprised of”. It comes from Latin phrases which means to carry or grasp collectively. Different English phrases based mostly on those self same roots are “complete” and “prehensile” (as in a monkey’s prehensile tail: it may well seize issues). Comprise’s French cousin additionally makes this clear.
  • It is new. Many present Wikipedia readers had been taught to write down at a time when not one respectable dictionary endorsed “comprised of” in any approach. It was barely ever used earlier than 1970. Even now, fashion manuals regularly name out this specific utilization as one thing to not do.
  • It is imprecise. English has quite a lot of methods to say issues the author means by “comprised of”. “Composed of”, “consists of”, and “contains” are subtly totally different. In sentences I edit, it usually takes cautious thought to determine simply which one in all these items the article ought to say. Thus the sentence with “comprised of” is not fairly as expressive.
  • Many writers use this phrase to aggrandize a sentence — to deliberately make it longer and extra subtle. In these, a easy “of”, “is”, or “have” usually produces an easier-to-read sentence. (Instance: “a staff comprised of scientists” versus “a staff of scientists”).


Fowler’s Modern English Usage, in its varied editions, is among the most generally revered fashion guides for English. Fowler’s is pretty liberal in accepting utilization that’s in style even when it goes towards earlier steerage—it embraces language evolution. Nonetheless, the 1999 version, revealed 30 years after the good enlargement of “comprised of”, is unequivocal that “comprise” shouldn’t be used for “compose”, “consist”, or “represent”. It says, “It’s even much less right to confuse ‘comprise’ with ‘consist’ and undertake a hybrid development ‘comprise of’ or ‘be comprised of'”.

Paul Brians in his ebook Common Errors In English Usage recommends towards utilizing the phrase, whereas acknowledging that some folks do not thoughts it.

The Grammar Slammer modifying device by English Plus says the entire all the time contains the components.

Jack Lynch’s Guide to Grammar and Style advises to keep away from “is comprised of”.

In response to Dr Grammar’s Frequently Asked Questions, “comprised of” is all the time flawed.

Author Travis Bradberry recognized comprise in 2015 as one in all 20 phrases whose misuse “makes smart people look dumb”. He positioned comprise/compose confusion in the identical class as “settle for/besides” confusion.

Tim Ross provides one other good clarification about what’s incorrect about “comprised of” on his talk page, full with references.

In August 2007, a Wikipedia Manual Of Style discussion lined this. This dialogue contains uncommon recommendation from one Wikipedian to favor “comprised of” — however solely rather than “contains”.

Jonathon Owen describes some research he did into historic utilization. He additionally explains that “comprised of” is technically flawed, however says he has “given up” and accepts the phrase.

A utilization be aware within the Merriam-Webster dictionary notes {that a} author “could also be topic to criticism” for utilizing “comprised of” and suggests different wording for that motive. It notes that regardless of being in use for over 100 years, it’s nonetheless attacked as flawed, however says it is not clear why the attackers have singled out this utilization. Opposition has lengthy been declining; within the Nineteen Sixties, 53 % of American Heritage Dictionary’s knowledgeable Usage Panel discovered the wording unacceptable; in 1996, solely 35 % objected; by 2011, it had fallen a bit extra, to 32 % (quoted here). OED utilization be aware calls it “a part of commonplace English”.

As defined elsewhere on this essay, dictionaries for essentially the most half don’t touch upon utilization, however simply give information about how a phrase is used.

There are not less than a number of bots on Twitter that scan the Twittersphere for “comprised of” and admonish the tweeter. One such is EngrishPorice, which offers in a protracted checklist of widespread English errors. Right here, “comprised of” finds itself within the firm of “may care much less”, “ought to of”, “your going”, and “Brussel sprouts”.

Arguments for “comprised of”[edit]

Elegant variation[edit]

I do know of just one argument actively for the usage of “comprised of” as an alternative of its varied options: elegant variation. Elegant variation is the concept of utilizing a number of phrasings for a similar factor in an editorial to keep away from tiring the reader with repetition. Sports activities announcers are well-known for utilizing this as they use dozens of how to say “beat” in working down an inventory of scores. So “comprised of” is usually a helpful variation in a paragraph that already makes use of all of the options. This argument is inapplicable, although, in one thing like an encyclopedia, the place readability is extra vital than euphony. The place readability is vital, you will need to use constant terminology, so elegant variation is a foul factor.

Much less ambiguous than “contains”[edit]

I’ve seen one argument that “comprised of” beats “contains” specifically, as a result of the latter is ambiguous. That ambiguity occurs whenever you 1) admit one other misuse of the verb “to comprise”, and a couple of) use a plural the place you should not. In one other case of “comprise” getting used reverse of its pure sense, “to comprise” means to “represent”, as in “Three states comprise the Pacific Northwest.” With that utilization thought of, the phrase “phyla comprise courses” can imply both that phylum is above class within the taxonomy of residing issues or that class is above phylum. “phyla are comprised of courses” is unambiguous. However so is “a phylum contains courses”, which can be clearer.

Has distinctive which means[edit]

This essay would not be full if I did not report that I’ve recognized a couple of folks to assert that “comprised of” has a definite which means totally different from the entire options. However I hesitate to say it, as a result of none of these folks have enunciated what the distinctive which means is, or supplied any motive to imagine that it is a which means generally understood by different readers. I’ve but to see a dictionary that claims “comprise” in that context is something however a synonym of “compose” or “consist” or a utilization information that claims something however “do not”.

Much less complicated in musical context[edit]

I’ve heard a number of instances the argument that “comprised of” is best than “composed of” in an article about music. The argument is that in a music context, “compose” refers to writing music, so “comprised of” is a much less complicated wording whenever you imply the common “composed of”. This doesn’t, after all, argue for “comprised of” generally, as a result of there are many different options to “composed of”. However a much bigger objection I’ve to that argument is that I feel musicians really do imply the normal “compose” once they communicate of writing music. They’re placing notes collectively to make one thing larger. I feel they apply that very same artwork once they put collectively an album or a band, in order that “the album consists of dwell recordings” or “the band consists of former blues singers” ought to evoke the identical ideas as “she composed the track on a ukulele”.

Rebuttal arguments[edit]

Moreover the lively arguments above, I do know a number of arguments that “comprised of” is pretty much as good because the options, and arguments that one should not edit out the phrase from present articles.

As we will see in an online search, there are a large number of people who find themselves completely superb with “comprised of”. In actual fact, lots of them have by no means heard that there is a downside with it. Dictionaries checklist it.

The prevalence argument does little or no for me — I do not see grammar as a majority rule factor. The prevalence must be about 99% for me to just accept it as legitimate (although nonetheless unlucky) utilization. Keep in mind that a fantastic many individuals write “may of”, but few individuals who research the difficulty argue this can be a Wikipedia-worthy strategy to say “may have”.

The dictionary argument additionally fails to hit the mark, as a result of the perform of a dictionary is not to let you know what’s OK to make use of in any specific writing. It merely tells you what folks imply once they do use a phrase. The one time the dictionary provides you permission to write down one thing is whenever you’re taking part in Scrabble. The dictionary will help us construct a prevalence argument (see above), however then we have now to take be aware that no dictionary lists “compose” as the first definition of comprise, and is not it higher to use words with their primary definitions the place we will?

One other rebuttal argument says that the incorrectness of “comprised of” is a factor of the previous — that English has advanced to incorporate this new utilization, because it advanced to just accept “he goes” rather than “he goeth”. This argument says individuals who do not settle for “comprised of” simply have not gotten the phrase but.

However “comprised of” is nowhere close to that standing, and it’d by no means be. Webster’s dictionary says the phrase has been in use for the reason that 1700s, and it nonetheless hasn’t managed to win over everybody. American Heritage notes that the fraction of its utilization specialists accepting the phrase has been trending upward previously few a long time, and an evaluation of the Google Books Corpus in 2012 reveals a definite upward development, however it nonetheless has a strategy to go earlier than we will put it in the identical class with “he goes”.

Some folks rebut the argument that “comprised of” is illogical with a declare that English is inherently illogical, so it would not matter. They’re little doubt pondering of the copious different illogical options of English that aren’t solely universally accepted, however unavoidable. One needn’t look additional than irregular verbs to see this. However the ache attributable to all these quirks obscures the truth that English is actually extra logical than not. If human languages weren’t basically structured and logical, we in all probability would not also have a phrase for grammar. In any case, 1,000 illogical constructions is best than 1,001, so in deciding whether or not to just accept a specific development, it’s value contemplating logic.

I’ve even heard a particular rebuttal to the concept that it is dangerous for “comprise” to have two reverse meanings, as a result of there are different phrases that do. Take “mud”, for instance, which may imply to take away mud or to use it. The “1,000 is best than 1,001” argument applies right here, however I additionally discover that solely one of many different auto-antonyms is definitely reverse in grammatical development, with agent and object reversed. If “Bob rents a home”, Bob is likely to be both the owner or the tenant, however within the spirit of “comprised of”, Bob may additionally be the property.

The auto-antonym that’s structurally like “comprise” is “possess”. One generally hears “John is possessed of a particular expertise”, the place “is possessed of” means “possesses”, similar to “is comprised of” is used to imply “contains”. The origin of this reversal is kind of totally different from that of “comprise”, based mostly on an outdated authorized standing of “possession”. Placing somebody into or out of this standing was referred to as “possessing” of “dispossessing” the individual of the property. The vital level is that there is no such thing as a rule demonstrated — each of those reverse usages are distinctive and we’re unlikely ever to see, “This bag is contained of (i.e. comprises) six apples” or “the blade makes (i.e. is fabricated from) titanium”.

Pointlessness of caring about it[edit]

The arguments for leaving “comprised of” alone usually level out that my edits is not going to erase the phrase from the language, make folks cease utilizing it, or forestall its eventual evolution into undisputed right English. I agree with all of that, and I do not see the way it makes a distinction. These issues have by no means been targets of mine.

Different arguments take the “waste of time” type. I will not supply a rebuttal of that, as a result of a person editor’s allocation of his time should not be anybody else’s concern.

How folks cope with the difficulty[edit]

Right here, I am not speaking about how folks cope with seeing the phrase or how they elect to write down personally, however what folks do once they must make a coverage for publication.

You understand what my coverage for Wikipedia is.

One other encyclopedia broadly seen as a regular of excellence for the style is Encyclopædia Britannica. A search in June 2009 for the phrase “contains three” turns up 65 hits. “is comprised of three” will get zero. So “Comprised of” might be formally prohibited in that work.

I imagine nearly all main English language newspapers have fashion tips that prohibit “comprised of”, as do different edited publications.[1]

Wikipedia coverage[edit]

Wikipedia doesn’t have a coverage or guideline on whether or not “comprised of” is welcome within the encyclopedia. Folks generally say there must be one, and a few state a associated opinion that till there’s, no one ought to take away “comprised of” from an article. However that simply is not how Wikipedia works. A Wikipedia article will get its grammar and magnificence the identical place it will get its information: from the modifying public. Every editor applies his personal judgment in including materials, and in reviewing and modifying present materials. Disputes generally develop, and there are procedures for coping with these. Generally, an article finally ends up studying nonetheless the bulk of people that care need it to learn. Even spelling is crowdsourced on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia does have a style manual, however it focuses on technical presentation – issues like punctuation. As a result of extra conventional publications do have fashion manuals that dictate grammar and phrase utilization, folks generally suggest additions to Wikipedia’s to do the identical, and the proposals are all the time rejected.

Regional dialect[edit]

It has been prompt that “comprised of” is a regional factor, just like the spelling of “colour” or the phrase “determine”/”work out”. However I do not assume there’s any regional variation within the acceptability of the phrase — I feel there are individuals who settle for it and individuals who despise it in all areas.

It is simple to know how this declare arises: when an Australian tells a Canadian {that a} phrase he has been utilizing all his life is flawed, the simplest approach for the Canadian to reconcile that’s to conclude that the issue is exclusive to Australia. And it actually ends an argument rapidly — how many individuals are versed within the superb factors of each Canadian and Australian English?

The purpose is actually moot, although, due to two issues: 1) readers from all around the world learn Wikipedia, and wherever we will use a standard language, we must always. In spelling “colour”, we will not, however in utilizing “comprise”, we will. 2) Many of the arguments I make above for avoiding “comprised of” in Wikipedia are based mostly not on how many individuals discover the phrase discordant, however logic. Logic is similar in all areas.

However it’s an attention-grabbing query nonetheless. One individual from New Zealand informed me that “comprised of” is just not disputed in New Zealand. In Might 2011, an nameless editor wrote in Wiktionary that the objection to “comprised of” is simply in “North American English” and that the phrase is totally accepted in “British English”. Within the yr after that, a number of folks referred me to that Wiktionary article as authority for that reality.

The one sources cited by Wiktionary had been different extra revered dictionaries, and I defined above what these dictionaries inform us. It’s true that evaluating the usual UK dictionary, Oxford, with the usual US ones, Webster’s and American Heritage, one finds Oxford barely extra constructive about “comprised of” than the opposite two. The one factor Oxford has detrimental to say about it’s that that which means is just not the “main” which means of “comprise”.

However I needed some precise proof of the nameless Wiktionary declare, so I did a research of Wikipedia in June 2012. It was not in depth and there was loads of room for error, however it indicated to my satisfaction that “comprised of” is just not extra accepted in British English. I edited the Wiktionary article to mirror that.

My research was as follows. I checked out a number of hundred random articles whose matter had particular attraction to residents of some specific English talking place. For instance, an article a few freeway in California is particularly interesting to a resident of California. I divided these between the British Isles and in all places else. The British Isles had 29%. I then made the identical evaluation of articles which contained the phrase “comprised of”, both in its personal textual content or in a quote or quotation. (I excluded 35 articles concerning the New Jersey public faculty system, as a result of all of them include a “comprised of” from the identical supply). The British Isles had 14% of the “comprised of” articles. The maths signifies writers in that area are 2.5 instances much less possible than writers in all places else to make use of the disputed phrase.

My subjective feeling that comes from years of modifying Wikipedia is that the distribution of “comprised of” matches the distribution of audio system of English.

One space the place I do know from my work on Wikipedia “comprise” is extra possible for use in its reverse senses is articles about India. These include not solely a number of “comprised of”, however the even much less accepted usages, “contains of” and “yesterday it comprised of A, B, and C”. Nevertheless, I am unable to inform whether or not that signifies the reverse senses are usually accepted in India or there are only a lot of much less expert writers of English in India, the place many writers communicate one other language primarily. The identical articles sometimes are replete with different cases of irregular grammar that I’ve by no means heard of being accepted anyplace.


I’m one of many individuals who take into account “comprised of” poor English. However that is not why I edit it out; I do not edit Wikipedia for private style. The truth that a number of different folks really feel the identical approach is what makes it appear to be a superb edit to me.

As one who subscribes to the anti-comprised-of doctrine described above, I can let you know it triggers the identical “what an fool” neurons in us as “may of” and “may care much less”. If I can spare any readers that discomfort with out hurting anybody else, why would not I?

Moreover, many people will not be as sympathetic as I’m to individuals who name “comprised of” OK. These readers could take into account the incidence of the phrase in Wikipedia as proof that it’s written by amateurs and never a decent work.

Response to the mission[edit]

Many individuals are opposed and many individuals are in favor, as evidenced by their feedback on my Wikipedia discuss web page. The ratio of feedback, each in quantity and forcefulness, was initially closely on the opposed facet, however right this moment is generally constructive.

However these ratios are on no account consultant of, effectively, something.

For one factor, the entire variety of feedback (about 25 as of the top of 2009) is a minuscule fraction of the readers or editors of Wikipedia and of the variety of edits.

For one more, there’s in all probability a severe choice bias. Individuals who maintain one opinion is likely to be considerably extra motivated to specific it than those that maintain the opposite. For instance, it is obvious that the good majority of commenters had been moved to remark after I edited their work, thus rejecting their view of this phrase.

I imagine the explanation for the shift from the detrimental to constructive preponderance is that commenters have grow to be extra educated. That is proper – I am saying the good place is the constructive one. I say this as a result of I responded to the detrimental feedback by publishing this essay, and frequently enhancing it. I and others additionally defined the edits on my discuss web page. As extra info on why the edits are good turned out there, the variety of detrimental feedback steadily declined.

In fact, it is also that folks within the early days thought they may educate me on the great thing about “comprised of” and in fashionable instances they’ll see that I’ve already thought of each argument completely and am thus past convincing.

No less than six instances somebody has requested the Wikipedia authority construction to become involved:

  • Early on, there was a query to a method dialogue discussion board whether or not the edits are proper. There have been responses on each side, however the overwhelming drive was settlement with me. My first barnstar resulted from that.
  • In September 2008, an editor reported the edits[1] as “semi-vandalism”, however the declare was rejected. Seven folks responded, all in favor of the mission.
  • In June 2009, an editor introduced the mission to consideration of an administrator and requested if it warranted intervention. [2] The reply was “no”, based mostly on the truth that the edits do not make the article worse. The administrator does be aware, “I personally disagree with [Giraffedata’s] place.”
  • Later that month, an editor asked Jimbo Wales, founding father of Wikipedia and Wikimedia board member, on his Wikipedia discuss web page, to intercede. He mentioned that wasn’t the place to cope with the matter, however did remark, “I imagine that Giraffedata’s arguments towards our utilizing it are persuasive.” (He additionally clarified that that was not meant as an endorsement of the mission itself, which he had not regarded into).
  • In June 2010, an editor posed the query [3] on the Village Pump coverage web page whether or not the form of edits I generally do violate a Wikipedia coverage: repeatedly making use of the identical grammatical edit to an article, spaced out by months, despite the fact that some folks don’t desire the change. (Really, in utilizing me as the instance to again up the query, the editor goes additional: there’s consensus towards the change). The dialogue went briefly astray into specifics of this specific mission, however was rapidly closed by the moderator as a result of the query was “not generalizable”, so not appropriate for dialogue there.
  • 5 years later, in June 2015, an editor introduced up the identical problem once more on the Village Pump, once more utilizing my mission because the prime instance, however this time as an alternative of proposing that wikignome exercise that does not have unanimous approval must be banned fully, the editor proposed that wikignomes be required to maintain an inventory of articles for which there’s some objection to the modifying and never contact these articles. There was no assist. There have been a couple of feedback in assist of the concept that wikignomes shouldn’t drive their fashion preferences the place others do not share them, however that was not related to my mission, since I do not drive something. There was an in depth debate between two editors as as to whether my edits specifically are a superb factor.

Dozens of editors have let me know that they discovered of the grammatical problem from my edit, had consequently determined to keep away from “comprised of” of their writing, and thanked me.

Generally, editors revert my edits. I do not know the way usually, as a result of I do not preserve monitor and I do not bear in mind the articles effectively sufficient to acknowledge when the identical one comes throughout my display screen twice. However based mostly on numerical analyses I’ve executed, I feel it is about one per cent. As soon as, round 2008, I clearly attracted a stalker, a single editor who reverted about 30 in a row in the identical order during which I made them. It occurred once more in 2015 within the wake of widespread publicity concerning the mission and after the stalker bragged about it in public, an administrator admonished him, claiming he was disrupting consensus edits, and finally blocked the editor when he refused to cease.

Additionally within the wake of that publicity, an individual modified about 30 cases of “composed of” that had been written by somebody aside from me to “comprised of” and somebody inserted the phrase “comprised of” randomly right into a bunch of articles. These had been executed through a number of single-purpose Wikipedia accounts and should have been all the identical individual.

The mission, and I personally, had been lauded in feedback by Steven Walling and Maryana Pinchuk, staff of Wikimedia Basis, at a panel dialogue at Wikimania 2012 entitled “This is my voice: the motivations of highly active Wikipedians”. The panel listed motivations for engaged on Wikipedia and I got here up below “perfectionism” and “problem”. (Steven’s extremely commendatory feedback about my mindset within the mission are correct for my part, besides that he appears to imagine extra emotion than is definitely concerned. I do not really get indignant after I see “comprised of” present up in Wikipedia, and I particularly do not get indignant on the editors who put it there.)

Historical past of the mission[edit]

I started systematically changing “comprised of” in Wikipedia in December 2007. At the moment, 11,700 articles contained the phrase. I edited about 140 every week at first.

By August 2010, I had eliminated each occasion of “comprised of” besides the 150 or so in quotations and some dozen that had been protected by an article proprietor and entered a mode of modifying the brand new occurrences as they had been launched. About 70 new cases had been launched every week at the moment, together with 10 “comprising of”.

In 2021, the variety of new cases every week had dropped to 60, in all probability a results of editors being educated by my work. The speed of “comprising of” additions remained at 10 per week.

How I edit[edit]

I primarily search Wikipedia articles, templates, and classes for the phrase “comprised of” (with the quotes) utilizing Wikipedia search. I exploit an “insource” modifier to keep away from discovering the phrase in quotations.

However the variety of articles containing the phrase is sufficiently small that I want a way for avoiding modifying the identical articles again and again. There are a small variety of articles which might be successfully owned by an individual who takes private offense on the edits. To mitigate the offense, this editor does a revenge reversion. I do not wish to offend folks or begin a battle, so I strive to focus on the articles that do not have such house owners, that are the overwhelming majority.

So my precise course of entails a program that does the Wikipedia search (it simply fetches the identical URL as you fetch whenever you kind within the Wikipedia search field) and compares the checklist to the beforehand fetched lists. It selects solely these articles that weren’t in a type of lists within the earlier six months and generates an online web page linking to them, in alphabetical order. I browse that web page and proceed to edit them so as. I edit about 60 articles every week this fashion, sometimes inside a couple of days of the article being created or edited to require it. Due to the six month restrict, I could edit the identical occasion each six months if somebody is altering it again. The needs of the six month restrict are that one other occasion of “comprised of” would possibly get added to an article I beforehand cleaned and an article watcher who reverted my earlier edit may need retired.

In any case, the precise modifying is an mental course of. I learn the sentence and paragraph, perceive what it is imagined to say, and select a greater wording. Generally I repair a couple of different issues whereas I am within the neighborhood.


The place “comprised of” is inside a citation, it’s arguably correct to vary it to “composed of” or “contains” except the perform of the citation is to make some extent concerning the speaker’s grammar. That is akin to quoting an individual in English who really spoke in French. In actual fact, I’ve heard it argued that it’s unfair to a supply to cite his grammatical errors, since they stand out much more in a written citation than they did when the individual mentioned it informally.

Nevertheless, I do not deliberately edit “comprised of” in quotations. The place the phrase is just not integral to the quote, I merely quote much less and paraphrase extra; encyclopedias are imagined to paraphrase greater than excerpt anyway. The place the phrase containing “comprised of” is quote-worthy, I depart it in, however mark it with a {{sic}} tag to ensure future editors (particularly me) notice it’s a quote and do not edit it by chance. I exploit the conceal=sure parameter in order that the article would not say “sic” subsequent to it as a result of there is no motive the reader will suspect the phrase is an modifying error.

I exploit this odd conference:


It has the particular benefit that if you’re on the lookout for articles that include “comprised of” and should not, you’ll be able to kind the next within the Wikipedia Search field and the article containing “comprised of” in a citation is not going to be among the many outcomes:

insource:"comprised of"

There are individuals who object to make use of of the hidden sic tag, for causes that aren’t in any respect clear to me. I’ve heard from three of them (just one within the context of “comprised of”). Their incoherent arguments use phrases like, “we will not modify quotations”, “the citation is correct”, and “there’s nothing flawed with the citation”. However to make certain that my use of the tag conforms to the consensus of the Wikipedia group, I posted an Rfc in mid-2017 about it. Many of the response, after all, was no response as a result of that is too trivial for most individuals to care; they’re pleased to depart it as much as the few who do. However the RfC demonstrated a transparent consensus that the hidden sic tag on quoted cases of “comprised of” is an efficient factor.

Media protection[edit]

There was in depth media protection and commentary concerning the mission in early 2015, sparked by an article by Andrew McMillen in Backchannel. The mission drew McMillen’s consideration when his personal editor corrected his use of “comprised of” and in researching the difficulty, he discovered this essay as one of many prime internet search outcomes.

Here’s a checklist of protection references, contributed by varied followers of the mission, however primarily Emw:


Listed below are barnstars my “comprised of” work has earned. (Sadly for detractors of the work, Wikipedia would not have a system for awarding tokens to disparage an editor).

Minor Barnstar.png The Minor Barnstar
For selecting the mom of all nits. —Milkbreath (talk) 01:35, 4 April 2008 (UTC)
CopyeditorStar7.PNG The Copyeditor’s Barnstar
As a type of who was making that mistake myself, I award you this Barnstar in thanks for all of your work in correcting “comprised of” errors. Your work provides Wikipedia extra credibility. Thanks ϢereSpielChequers 11:42, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Working Man's Barnstar.png The Working Man’s Barnstar
On your tireless efforts to enhance the standard of this mission in small however vital methods. —AbsolutDan (talk) 00:28, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Socratic Barnstar.png The Socratic Barnstar
awarded to these editors who’re extraordinarily expert and eloquent of their arguments
for successful me over with the “comprised of” argument. I did not even comprehend it was incorrect! — Noelypole 09:39, 3 Might 2010 (UTC)
Socratic Barnstar.png The Socratic Barnstar
I got here to your consumer web page questioning why you had eliminated the phrase “comprised of” from Venancio Roberto, an article I had written. What I discovered was this web page during which you set out an argument towards a specific phrasing with a thoroughness one hardly ever sees in grammatical justification. Relatively than saying merely “the dictionary discourages it”, you set out a logical argument, and made somebody who prides himself on right grammar take into consideration a difficulty that had by no means crossed his thoughts earlier than. Thanks. かんぱい! Scapler (talk) 06:49, 1 November 2010 (UTC)
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For little corrections that do add up. KimChee (talk) 08:56, 2 December 2010 (UTC)
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On your tireless efforts in eradicating the improper use of the phrase “comprised”, I award you the Working Man’s Barnstar!  Cjmclark  17:02, 22 November 2010 (UTC)
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For efforts with this: Consumer:Giraffedata/comprised of. “Comprised of” is fairly redundantly put and overly used, which not many discover. Rely me in for this for the place ever I come throughout. lTopGunl (talk) 07:50, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
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Thanks for the English lesson! I loved your consumer web page immensely and I discovered one thing helpful, too. And by golly, I am derned if that is not precisely what Wikipedia is meant to be all about. BelchfireTALK 03:58, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
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Thanks for fixing grammar/fashion points and sustaining a regular on articles. I really thought “comprised of” sounded incorrect, and I used to be going to make use of “compose of”, however I would already used it a number of instances within the Minecraft article. Additionally, thanks to your informative web page explaining the utilization of the time period. – M0rphzone (talk) 00:12, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
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On your work on “comprised of” [sic]. An all too uncommon sight it’s when an editor insists to the purpose of exhaustion upon utilizing phrases to imply what they imply, reasonably than what he says they imply. Kudos to you for attending to this specific misuse – the one instances I can get as energized about language contain the usage of “actually” to imply actually the precise reverse of what it means. ☯.ZenSwashbuckler.☠ 19:41, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
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I am impressed along with your continued work behind the scenes to enhance the standard of English on Wikipedia. Andrew327 04:31, 14 August 2013 (UTC)
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Hey Giraffedata! I’ve seen you numerous currently fixing sentences eradicating these poorly written “comprised of” phrases. Thanks very a lot and I do appreciated your works. Thanks once more and have a pleasant day! 🙂 Mediran (tc) 09:39, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
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Good to see somebody know their stuff the place grammar is anxious! Thanks for all of the edits (fixing “comprised of”). Meteor sandwich yum (talk) 06:41, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
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You are a legend, Bryan. Thanks for correcting my semi-regular use of ‘comprised of’. By no means once more will I exploit it! Andrew McMillen (talk) 01:35, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
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Simply needed to take a second and recognize the work that you’re doing on Wikipedia. You edited an article the place I wrote “comprised of” and I have to say, you probably did rightly so. I learn part of your “comprised of” web page and I’ll positively learn the entire of it. It is informative and attention-grabbing. AMAZING! Muhammad Ali Khalid (talk) 16:50, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
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Superior job on comprise of mission Kansiime (talk) 05:19, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
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Nobody else such as you could be “comprised of” (filled with) grammatical undos! 1234567890Number Msg me Edits 01:02, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
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I am glad you are on the difficulty of “comprised of” and rewriting sentences on Wikipedia with extra apt turns of phrase. Sustain the nice work. WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 05:35, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
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On your continued efforts to rid Wikipedia of improper grammar – RoyalMate1 14:11, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
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Jimgerbig (talk) 00:21, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
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Superior! Panurk (talk) 00:48, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
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Annoying utilization provides up. Eradicating it takes nice diligence. Thanks to your perseverance! Phytism (talk) 01:39, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
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Your tireless and beneficiant work has drastically contributed to my well-being, in addition to that of, likely, many others, by eliminating uncountable cases of writing that may in any other case have precipitated the mental equal of the screech of fingernail on chalkboard. I salute you! Ian Page (talk) 18:49, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
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Hello Bryan,

I loved studying about your endeavours on Wikipedia …
Regardless, thanks to your effort. It’s appreciated. Nabazela (talk) 12:46, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

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Completely love your dedication in defence of our language.

I really feel a bit responsible for saying this however I did spot one in all my betes noir in your consumer web page: “There are a small variety of articles..”. Tesspub (talk) 12:52, 15 February 2015 (UTC)

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Thanks for changing “comprised of” with different and higher phrasing. Due to your mission, avoiding “comprised of” is a (de facto) commonplace. Esquivalience t 23:10, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
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You could have spent years engaged on this, and I commend you to your diligence and a focus to element. 🙂 BlooTannery (talk) 13:54, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
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Good to see somebody is aware of grammar effectively, and tirelessly fixes the errors the likes of myself make. Sustain the good work Simuliid talk 14:16, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
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What you (Bryan Henderson) have executed for Wikipedia customers is phenomenal. Please do the identical to the entire incorrect occurrences of “attributable to” in Wikipedia! I am unable to rely the variety of instances I have been studying an article and needed to change “attributable to” to “due to”. Writers: if no $, then no attributable to. Bammie73 (talk) 00:53, 4 Might 2015 (UTC)
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For eradicating “comprised of” C E (talk) 13:56, 29 Might 2015 (UTC)
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Thanks for all you might have executed when it comes to “comprised of”. I sit up for the day that these two phrases will not be positioned collectively in wikipedia. JhonsJoe (talk) 15:34, 31 Might 2015 (UTC)
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As a result of I am a teen, my sentences are sometimes comprised of the phrase “Dank”. Thanks for serving to me with my english essays as a result of I suck at English, I suppose. Redditaddict_6_9 04:23, 15 August 2018 (UTC)
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Thanks to your edits! Your in depth work in correcting “comprised of” is sensible. Starsign1971 (talk) 05:41, 8 December 2020 (UTC)
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After studying by means of your essay on the phrase “comprised of”, I needed to award you with a barnstar to your tireless diligence in being an superior contributor! BlueNoise (talk) 10:22, 3 October 2022 (UTC)
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I arrived on this web page unconvinced of your knowledge. I depart fully satisfied. Bravo. Atomix330 (talk) 04:29, 7 February 2023 (UTC)
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On your work on eradicating the phrase “comprised of” on Wikipedia. — Shadow of the Starlit Sky 02:08, 11 April 2023 (UTC)

Various phrasing[edit]

There are lots of different phrasings which might be universally accepted as correct English and good writing. As a result of the phrase has unfold by use by much less cautious writers (a author who went to the difficulty to learn the way to make use of it in all probability would have determined to not use it in any respect), “comprised of” has many meanings. In actual fact, one of many benefits to avoiding “comprised of” is that another is certain to be extra exact.

composed of[edit]

Most likely the most effective general-purpose substitute is “composed of”. It matches nearly anyplace you see “comprised of”, although could not say precisely what the sentence needs to say.

See Also

Composing means placing collectively. While you say A consists of B, C, and D you emphasize that B, C, and D are components that come collectively to make A. A shouldn’t have any different components than B, C, and D. There must be multiple half, and the sentence ought to merely checklist the components, not describe how they go collectively.

Do not forget that “composition” and “part” are different types of the phrase, so for those who would possibly use these phrases in discussing the topic, “composed of” might be good.

“An ax consists of a deal with and a head.”

“Tissue consists of cells.”

consists of / consisting of[edit]

These are nearly pretty much as good as “composed of” as a general-purpose substitute. It too matches nearly anyplace you see “comprised of”.

Consisting of one thing is a extra summary idea than being composed of. When A consists of B, C, and D, these components will not be essentially distinct components which might be merely assembled. In actual fact, A can encompass simply B. “Consists of” works as a fuzzy “is”.

“Paint consists of varied pigments suspended in a service.”

“Comedy consists of creating folks chuckle.”

The place there are distinct and exhaustive elements and the sentence does nothing however checklist them, “composed of” works higher.

When “comprised of” is used to change a noun as an alternative of after “is”, use “consisting of”: “A substance comprised of pigments suspended in a service is paint” turns into “a substance consisting of pigments suspended in a service is paint.”


“Contains” is arguably what earlier customers of “is comprised of” had been pondering of, being distracted by the same phrase “consists of” to finish up on the hybrid.

“Contains” works technically in most locations, however the connotation is reasonably totally different from “consists of” or “consists of”. “Contains” means “contains”, however often means exhaustive inclusion — there aren’t every other components.

When A contains B, C, and D, it is true that B, C, and D are the elements of A, however the phrase emphasizes that A brings them collectively. B, C, and D ought to have some unbiased existence and never perform merely as components of this complete.

“The diocese contains Johnson and Davis Counties” is sweet if there is no such thing as a territory within the diocese aside from Johnson and Davis Counties. Notice that the counties are far more than divisions of a diocese; the diocese merely gathers them collectively for church functions.

The commonest issues for which I exploit “contains” are geographical boundaries, faculty sports activities leagues, and consortia of companies and such.

“Contains” can be utilized for uncountable issues too, as in “The campus contains the entire woodland on the North facet of the lake”.

When “comprised of” is used to change a noun as an alternative of after “is”, use “comprising”: “The diocese comprised of Johnson and Davis Counties is the wealthiest one” turns into “The diocese comprising Johnson and Davis Counties is the wealthiest one”.

made up of[edit]

This works the place you are itemizing elements, however they are not distinct components.

“Brass is made up of copper and zinc.”

If somebody really made the factor, “fabricated from” could also be extra expressive.

fabricated from[edit]

That is for when somebody really put the components collectively. In the identical approach that lively voice provides extra info than passive, “fabricated from” provides extra info than any phrasing that simply describes the ensuing composition.

“The tent is fabricated from canvas and nylon.”

divided into[edit]

That is the opposite facet of “fabricated from”. When one thing began out complete and somebody divided it into components, “divided into” provides extra info than simply describing the ensuing composition.

“The company is split into twelve departments.”

(Nevertheless it relies upon upon the company. Did somebody really divide up the company, or did somebody assemble pre-existing departments into an company? “contains” could make the purpose higher).


I do not see “comprised of” used this fashion usually, however generally it refers to components that outline one thing greater than really compose it, after which I like “embody”.

“The no-fly zone encompasses all of the navy and authorities buildings within the metropolis”.

is, has, of, and so on.[edit]

Many instances, an creator considers “comprised of” in a deliberate try and make the sentence longer and extra complicated. That is imagined to lend a temper of intelligence or sophistication to the sentence. In technical writing, similar to in an encyclopedia, ease of comprehension is much extra vital than temper, so an easier sentence is best, and easy phrases similar to “is” and “has” make the purpose simply superb.

“The dwelling is comprised of a brick home.” ⇒ “The dwelling is a brick home.”

“The committee is comprised of 5 members” ⇒ “The committee has 5 members”.

“a staff comprised of scientists” ⇒ “a staff of scientists”

Confer with the components as an alternative of the composition[edit]

The thoughts is constructed in such a approach that we perceive a sentence most simply when it varieties an image in our head — an image of issues appearing on different issues. It’s far simpler to type an image of one thing concrete like a rock than one thing summary like geology. Additionally it is simpler to image one merchandise, like a tree, than to image a gestalt assortment of things, like a forest.

So a pupil is simpler to image than a pupil physique:

“The coed physique is comprised of residents of Centerville.” ⇒ “The scholars are from Centerville.”

A band member is simpler to image than a band:

“The band is comprised of John, Mary, and Bob.” ⇒ “The members of the band are John, Mary, and Bob.”

A resident is simpler to image than a inhabitants:

“The inhabitants is comprised of former New Yorkers.” ⇒ “The residents are former New Yorkers.”

“Contains of”[edit]

There’s a associated problematic phrase, “to comprise of” (and its varied varieties). Like “is comprised of”, this can be a mishearing of two phrases which imply about the identical factor: “to encompass” and “to comprise”. However this phrasing is much much less accepted than “comprised of”. No main dictionary even acknowledges the utilization.

I’ve discovered this particularly prevalent in articles about India and articles rife with different syntax errors.

I started purging these from Wikipedia in November 2010, at which era there have been about 3000 articles containing it. I now simply expunge new cases — about 15 every week.

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