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[詞彙區別] constitute, compose, consist of, comprise, account for, make up 的區別
為了幫助同學增加詞彙量並且精確地在口說和寫作上使用這些字，我建議同學們不要一開始的時候就死記硬背一群同義字 (e.g. decline, decrease, diminish, dwindle, reduce, alleviate) 。雖然如此做會快速幫同學累積對這些字的認知，可是認知都會停留在模糊階段。建議同學先熟悉其中一兩個字以後在開始累積相關的同義字，也應該用搭配詞跟片語加上完整的例句和短文來輔助自己對單詞的理解。同時同學們也應該在使用這些字之前先查查字典，更進一步了解這些單詞的使用方式。
1. constitute: to constitute something is to form a whole, especially of dissimilar components: Love and hate can constitute a balanced relationship.
-Seven days constitutes a week (七天構成一個星期。).
2. Compose: to compose means the same as to constitute, but implies that the components have something in common: Water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen.
-Concrete is composed of cement, sand and gravel mixed with water. (混凝土由水泥、砂、石子與水摻和而構成。 )
-Mere facts, when badly stated, do not compose a good book. (僅僅有資料，如果陳述得很糟糕，並不能組成一本好書)
3. account for: 說明（原因、理由等）; 導致，引起; （在數量、比例上）; 占 (e.g. This group accounted for 60% of the population.)
These products, in total, account for about 80％ of all our sales (這些產品總共約占我們全部銷售額的80％。).
4. make up: 組成 to combine together to form something [= constitute]:
-Women make up only a small proportion of the prison population. 女人只佔監獄人口的一小部分。
-The committee is made up of representatives from every state (委員會由每個州的代表組成的。).
-Children makes up only 10% of the population (兒童只佔人口的10％。).
5. consist of: to consist of something is to be made up of it: A lethal dose of nerve agent VX consists of only 10 milligrams.
consist of 的含義與被動語態的 compose 相同
-Though the costume consists only of a sheet, it was very effective. (雖然那件化裝服裝僅由一條床單組成，但效果很好。)
-This group consists of men, women, and children.
6. comprise: to comprise something has the same meaning as to consist, often implying that the whole is regarded from the point of view of its individual parts: The chain is comprised of many links, and is only as strong as its weakest.
-The committee comprises men of widely different views (這個委員會由見解甚為懸殊的人組成。).
從這些動詞的意思來看，若要表示數個個體或項目組成一個整體時，我們可用 compose 或 constitute。
England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland compose/constitute the United Kingdom.
若要表示一個整體是由個數個體或項目所組成時，我們可用 comprise* 或 consist of / be composed of 。
(compose 經常用於被動態，而以 be composed of 的型式出現，意思和用法跟 consist of 完全一樣。)
-The United Kingdom comprises*/consists of/is composed of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
*在這幾個字當中，僅 comprise 兼具其他字的意思，但它也是最麻煩、最讓人困擾的字。英語 評論人士強烈反對 comprise 被用作 constitute 的意思以及 comprise 以被動態形式 be comprised of 來表示 consist of 的意思，所以對於 Fifty states comprise the United States. (五十個州組成了美國) 和 The United States is comprised of fifty states. (美國是由五十個州所組成) 這樣的句子結構，他們期期以為不可，而堅持只有 The United States comprises fifty states. 才是唯一正確的用法。但他們反對的這兩種用法其實早已是不 折不扣的標準英語，一些新版的字典甚至將 be comprised of 堂而皇之地列為片語，如 The course is comprised of ten core modules. (這門課是由 10 個核心單元組成)。然而，在公說公有理，婆說婆有理，各有堅持的情況下，在此建議：若使用 comprise 會讓你覺得心虛或沒把握，那麼不妨使用它的同義詞，也就是沒有爭議的 constitute, consist of 或 be composed of 來代替之。
*An interesting history of sense development concerning the word comprise has caused confusion, if not hate for the word itself. The most common mistake is confusing consist and comprise with each other. To say A lethal dose of nerve agent VX comprises of only 10 milligrams, is wrong because it is not analyzed from each separate component or milligram, but rather as a whole dose. In fact, there is a lot of skepticism and criticism of the word “comprise” all together. “None of the many neat schemes purporting to describe its correct use seems accurately to describe the way Standard English users actually employ comprise.” (Bartleby) Thus it is suggested to use constitute and/or compose as active verbs, while consists and/or includes as passive. However, if your use of the word can clearly indicate its context, separate from the its other accepted use, choosing a substitute is not necessary.
Also, ”Comprises” is “better" grammar than ”is comprised of.” “The whole comprises multiple parts” is better than, “The whole is comprised of multiple parts.” Even better though is, “Multiple parts comprise the whole."
More sample sentences:
-The pie chart consists of/comprises of the percentages of four different fuel sources used in electricity production.
-Electricity (that is) produced with coal composed/constituted/accounted for 50% of the total electricity (that is)produced.
contain vs. include:
Contain: Something is considered to be within something else.
The toy contains many small moving parts. ->The small moving parts are a part of the toy.
Include: Something is added to something else, possibly containing it, possibly not.
-This toy includes batteries. -> The batteries are not a part of the toy. They just come with the toy.