Consist of, comprise, be composed of, constitute, make up/be made up of, include


The expressions such as consist (of), comprise (be comprised of), composed of, constitute, make up (be made up of), include, etc. describe the relationship of parts to the whole, or whole to parts. We sometimes use them interchangeably but not in all cases. Let’s look at the usages of each word, with attention to active and passive voices.


Consist of = When we want to talk about the whole and then all of its parts, we commonly use consist of: ‘North America consists of three countries: the USA, Canada, and Mexico’, ‘the club consists of members from all across the world’, ‘the crew consists of twenty men’, ‘the class consists of students from all over the world’, the trip of UN Secretary-General consists of several countries in Asia’, etc.

More example sentences of consist of

She got the termination letter which largely consisted of several allegations.

The proposed overbridge will consist of several overpasses and underpasses.

These evidences consisted not of videos, as you say, but of several audio clips, too.

The exhibition consists of a wide range of products aimed at the defence industry.

The magazine includes a section at the back consisting of a telephone directory.

The menu usually consisted of two or three dishes which were served in the earthen pot.

The ICU health care team consists of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, dieticians and other professionals.

Note that ‘consist of’ is more informal than ‘comprise’.
Be aware! Never use ‘consist of’ in the passive, so don’t say something is consisted of something.

The Group of Seven consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.                                        

The Group of Seven is consisted of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.                  


Comprise = Consist of; be made up of. The verb ‘comprise’ has an edge over the verb ‘consist of,’ if you stick to the sense that the whole comprises the parts, and use the active rather than the passive: ‘The newly formed committee will comprise seven members’, ‘the trust comprises four trustees including one chairman’, ‘the studio spans several city blocks, comprising seventeen buildings’, etc.

More example sentences of comprise

The collection comprises 51 classic movies.

The team comprises mostly players from the Commonwealth nations.

Consumer spending by state government now comprises 70% of GDP.

The audience comprising former players, bureaucrats and senior citizens were an enthusiastic lot.

Ad-supported cable programs now comprise more than 80 percent of all U.S. television households.

The accommodation provided by the company comprises two bedrooms, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and rear garden.

Note that sometimes we use comprise in the passive with of, though debatable:

The whole + is comprised of + all its parts (passive)

The course is comprised of fifteen core modules.

The committee is comprised of well-known historians.

The class is comprised mainly of Mexican and Canadian students.

Note that this passive use has been on the rise, may be due to its similarity to ‘be composed of’. However, it is somewhat controversial and not liked by most traditional grammarians.
Be aware!  Like ‘consist of’, ‘comprise’ is not followed by of unless it is used in the passive: ‘the band consists of two guitarists, a bassist, and a drummer’ and NOT ‘the band comprises of two guitarists, a bassist, and a drummer’.

The University comprises of several Departments.              

The University comprises several Departments.                  

Be composed of = The things that something is composed of are its parts or members. The separate things that compose something are the parts or members that form it: ‘the cake is composed of flour and eggs’, ‘a council composed of leaders of the rival factions’,  ‘this vanity table should be composed of three parts’, etc.
Note that there’s no difference in meaning between ‘consist of‘ and ‘be composed of‘; we use both to describe what something is formed or made of.
More example sentences of be composed of

This force would be composed of troops from NATO members.

All matter is found to be composed of atoms and molecules.

The current Roberts Court is supposed to be composed of more democrats.

It has been found that tears to be composed of negatively charged ions.

His idea was a smaller army to be composed of better-trained and better-equipped soldiers.

The committee will be composed of the permanent representatives of the participating States.

The newly-formed force would be composed of all combat types, including two or three carriers, transports and train vessels.

A PowerPoint Presentation can be composed of audio, video, images, text, and other media types.


Constitute = Be (a part) of a whole; combine to form (a whole): ‘women constitute the majority of the workforce’, here’s a collection of old photographs that constitutes the ‘family album, etc.

More example sentences of constitute

There were enough allegations to constitute a lawsuit.

The Barony of Erris constitutes such a large part of Mayo.

Muslims in Burma constitute at least 4 per cent of the country’s entire population.

This termination of contract, from the legal point of view, constitutes a breach of contract.

The pedestrians in the city constitute the highest number of victims of road accidents.

These so-called elite groups constituted a very small proportion of the total population.

This combined migratory population constituted more than 21.8 percent of Lebanon’s population.

The data presented by the WHO constitute only a very modest beginning toward meeting the challenge.


Make up = (of parts) compose or constitute a whole: ‘women make up 56 per cent of the workforce’,

We also use ‘make up’ in this way: with Liam and Emma we made up a foursome for badminton.

More example sentences of make up

Milk, dairy, eggs, meat, fish and poultry make up your three-year-old child’s diet.

As of 2010, there were about 14 million Jews around the world, making up 0.2% of the global population.

American shoppers make up the largest percentage of foreign buyers.


Note that ‘make up’ is a bit less formal than ‘constitute’, but ‘compose’ is rather formal and perhaps rather old-fashioned.


Be made up of = When the subject refers to the whole, make up can also be used in the passive with of: ‘the novel is made up of twelve short stories’, ‘the crew is made up of five women and three men’.


Include = Comprise or contain as part of a whole; make part of a whole or set. When we talk about the whole and then only some of the parts, we use include: ‘the class includes many students from Singapore and Taiwan’, the trip includes a one-night stay at Hawaii’, ‘the price includes all meals and bed’, etc.

More example sentences of include

She donated a few articles of furniture including an almirah, a chair and a vanity table.

The wine was quite good, and it was included in the price of the dinner.

On our trip to Maryland, we were allowed only breakfast and dinner because lunch was not included in the price.

Food and drinks are included in the entry price so it’s a bit of a bargain.

The book also includes some hints for beginners at the back.


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