Suggest improvements for the highlighted problem area:
Vacation Journal, 14 August:
We are being delayed briefly in Hangchow, but we will depart momentarily. Our guide, Wu Liyao, explained that our exploreation will take us slowly through the Yangtze delta to the ocean. She inferred that it would be a long trip. Along the way we will see the levees built 1200 years ago on both sides of the river. Each levee composes two sturdy embankments for a distance of 200 kilometers. There is excitment in our tour group. I am eager to see the ancient walls, but I am anxious about the weather. The previous tour boat had to stop 20 kilometers from the ocean. Bad weather kept them from going further.
- Comprise versus Compose -
Another common error is shown later in our opening paragraph:
Each levee composes two sturdy embankments for a distance of 200 kilometers.
The proper word to use here is comprise, which means to include or to consist of. In the sentence we are saying the whole is made up of the parts: that is, the levee consists of the embankments. If this sentence were inverted to say the embankments make up the levee, compose would be the proper word to use. But for the sentence in its present form, comprise is the appropriate word:
Each levee comprises two sturdy embankments for a distance of 200 kilometers.
It is easy to forget the difference between compose and comprise. To help remember the difference, try making up a mnemonic, or memory aid, such as:
The PRC comprises provinces;