Compose vs. CompriseHow to use "compose" and "comprise" correctly
The verb compose means “to make up; constitute.” Comprise is often used as a synonym for this sense of compose, but its actual meaning is “to include.” You can avoid confusing the two by not using comprise as a participial adjective or in the passive voice. Stick to the active voice usage below.
This series is comprised of seven volumes = the series is “included of” seven volumes (awkward)
This series is composed of seven volumes = the series is made up of seven volumes
This series comprises seven volumes. = the series includes seven volumes
Note that in recent years the (traditionally incorrect) expression “is comprised of” has become quite common and is much more widely accepted than in the past. But if you follow the rules and examples above, your usage will be accepted by any audience.
Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English
List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list
Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage