(a grammar note)
365b · 24 January 2002
The whole comprises its parts, the parts compose the whole. There is no such phrase as "is comprised of". I must have known these things at some point, but I'd forgotten, and for nearly seven years I have been misusing the word "comprise" in this column. I discovered this over the weekend, and I have now gone back and fixed all instances of the error. In fact, in a petulant overreaction, I have eliminated "comprise" from my working vocabulary entirely. It should not trouble either of us again.
I apologize for any inconvenience or hardship my errors, or their subsequent correction, may have caused.