Here are some words we often find mixed up in documents we read. Are you using these words correctly?
COMPRISE, IS COMPRISED OF, and INCLUDE: Filling Up
Guideline: Use comprise when you mean to "consist of" (as opposed to "are the elements of"). Use include when you are mentioning or listing some or most (rather than all) of the items in a series. Think twice before using is comprised of for anything.
- The new water ski package comprises [consists of] a pair of Voit skis, a deluxe rope and handle, a ski vest, and (get this!) a shiny MasterCraft ProStar 190 ski boat.
- The new water ski package includes [has, in addition to other things,] a ski vest.
- The new water ski package is comprised of [should be is composed of] a pair of Voit skis, a deluxe rope and handle, a ski vest, and (get this!) a shiny MasterCraft ProStar 190 ski boat.
A closer look. Is comprised of has become so commonly used as a synonym for "consists of" that many [inferior] guides now consider the phrase standard.
COMPARE TO and COMPARE WITH: Side by side
Guideline. Use compare to when your purpose is simply to liken--to point out the similarity (or dissimilarity) between--two things. Use compare with when your purpose is to analyze two things on the basis of their similarities or differences.
- You cannot begin to compare [liken] wakeboarders to water skiers.
- I would like to begin my speech by comparing [weighing one against the other] this year's water skiers with the water skiers we had last year.
From Grammar for Smart People by Barry Tarshis.