Tag Archives: comprise or compose

Watch out for These Common Errors in English

You may have heard of a movie called The Kids Are All Right. Our local newspaper reprints news releases about the movie with all right spelled correctly.

But the local journalist who does our headlines (and who seems to be on a personal mission to drive me crazy) always changes the title of the movie to The Kids Are Alright. It doesn’t seem to matter that the movie title of the movie is spelled correctly in the first sentence of the news story that follows.

All right is always two words (at least in the United States – the United Kingdom is rapidly moving to the Dark Side on this one).

Here are few more fingernails-on-a-chalkboard common errors in English that we should all avoid:

“I feel badly.”
Nope. You feel bad. “Feel badly” means the nerve endings in your fingertips are damaged. (Similarly, you don’t “look well” in a particular color or garment: You “look good.” Clothing doesn’t enhance your vision.)

“I could care less.”
Nope. It should be I couldn’t care less – meaning that your level of engagement with the issue is so close to zero that it couldn’t go any lower.

“It’s comprised of representatives from every charitable organization.”
Nope. It’s composed of. “Comprise” means “includes”: It comprises representatives from every charitable organization.

“It’s very unique.”
Nope. It’s very unusual. “Unique” and “unusual” aren’t synonyms. Unique means one-of-a-kind. My fingerprints are unique, but they’re not at all unusual.