Comprising Not Just Another Pretty Face

If you, like me, are of a certain age, you were lucky enough to learn a lot about grammar through reading. Books, magazines and newspapers were well-edited, and correct usage imprinted itself upon your brain.

So it was with glee that I spotted this locution in InStyle magazine and pounced on it to share as an example. Turns out, it is a good example – not because it’s wrong (as I thought), but because it’s correct.

And I’d bookmarked an entire article that I’d read a few months ago about the difference between “comprise” and “compose,” and thought I got it.

Now, I hope, this one finally has sunk in, thanks to a quick check with Grammar Girl, who shares two important lessons about using “comprise”:

  1. the whole comes first, then the parts, (just like InStyle does it here: one earring: 100 diamonds), and
  2. comprise can never be used in the past tense (the phrase “is comprised of” is incorrect)

Well done, InStyle magazine!

What about you? What grammar rules or words continually upend your sense of correct word usage?