A whole comprises all its parts. All the parts together compose the whole.

To comprise is to consist of. A dozen eggs comprises 12 eggs. The USA comprises 50 states (plus territories & whatnot).

To compose is to make up, in the sense that twelve eggs make up a dozen. A mother, a father, & their offspring compose a typical nuclear family.

Many people misuse "comprise" where they mean "compose". They turn the meaning of "comprise" inside-out by improperly using the passive voice, thus: "A deck is comprised of 52 cards." The correct usage is: "A deck comprises 52 cards" OR "A deck is composed of 52 cards."

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"Compose vs Comprise." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 23 Jan 2017. < >