"comprises" alternatives - "consists of" vs. "includes"

Subject: "comprises" alternatives - "consists of" vs. "includes"
From: "Monique Semp" <monique -dot- semp -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TechWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2012 14:05:34 -0700

Hello, writers,

As has been discussed numerous times on this list (and mentioned in the recent âWords That Are Often Misusedâ thread), itâs best to avoid using âcomprisesâ because many people will think the correct usage is wrong.

But some of the alternatives can be misunderstood, too. For example, if I read something that says, âthe selection pool includes the days outlined in red in Figure 2,â I tend to think that additional days might also be included or could be included in some cases. After all, âincludesâ does not imply âincludes ONLYâ.

Instead, Iâd go with, âthe selection pool consists of the days outlined in red in Figure 2.â The âconsistâ word does seem to mean âto be made up of ONLY those things that weâre about to list.â

So my question is, is this overthinking the situation or is it (as it seems to me) an important usage difference between âconsists ofâ and âincludesâ?

Let the grammar lessons begin :-),
-Monique

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