Date: Mon, 1 Sep 1997 09:24:12 -0400
From: Alan Baragona baragonasa[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]VAX.VMI.EDU
A couple of years ago, I decided the distinction between "comprise" and
"compose" was, for all practical purposes, dead when I found "comprise"
misused in a Morgan Library Exhibit, on National Public Radio, and in an
academic journal all in one week. The fact that both words are used in the
same semantic situations (though with opposite meanings), as well as the
similarity in spelling, makes it virtually inevitable that they should fall
But yesterday before the Orioles game, I heard a broadcaster say that the
starting pitchers had "comprised" a set of impressive statistics. Of
course, he should have said "compiled," but I was wondering if this was
simply a misusage by a jock announcer or part of a trend in the semantic
shift of the word. Has anyone else run across a confusion between
"comprise" and "compile" instead of the more usual "compose"?
alan[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]vmi.edu
You know, years ago, my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this
world, Elwood, you must be . . ."--she always called me 'Elwood'--"In this
world, Elwood, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so pleasant." Well, for
years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. And you may quote me.
Elwood P. Dowd