9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kuh m-pohz] /kəmˈpoʊz/
verb (used with object), composed, composing.
to make or form by combining things, parts, or elements:
He composed his speech from many research notes.
to be or constitute a part or element of:
a rich sauce composed of many ingredients.
to make up or form the basis of:
Style composes the essence of good writing.
to put or dispose in proper form or order:
to compose laws into a coherent system.
Art. to organize the parts or elements of (a picture or the like).
to create (a musical, literary, or choreographic work).
to end or settle (a quarrel, dispute, etc.):
The union and management composed their differences.
to bring (oneself, one's mind, etc.) to a condition of calmness, repose, etc.; calm; quiet.
  1. to set (type).
  2. to set type for (an article, book, etc.).
verb (used without object), composed, composing.
to engage in composition, especially musical composition.
to enter into composition; fall into an arrangement:
a scene that composes well.
Origin of compose
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Middle French composer. See com-, pose1
Related forms
composable, adjective
uncomposable, adjective
Can be confused
compose, comprise (see usage note at comprise)
8. settle, collect. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for compose
  • As if they compose music inside and transmit it to the partner.
  • If they are composers, they compose music that is based on what they thought was cool as that age.
  • It allows users to compose, conduct and improvise original music.
  • Once your game's graphics and play are in place, you can compose eight bars of music that take exactly five seconds to play.
  • They will likely also be able to use the devices to draw and compose music.
  • However, the ability to read or write music is not a requirement to compose music.
  • Enclosed please find a brief and truthful account of the capture of the specimens which compose this group.
  • It takes him a little while to compose herself afterwards.
  • The dots that compose the accompanying images are multicolored jelly beans, which is clever-and delicious.
  • Since the trapper is not present to compose an ideal shot, a camera that focuses everywhere at once might be rather useful.
British Dictionary definitions for compose


verb (mainly transitive)
to put together or make up by combining; put in proper order
to be the component elements of
to produce or create (a musical or literary work)
(intransitive) to write music
to calm (someone, esp oneself); make quiet
to adjust or settle (a quarrel, etc)
to order the elements of (a painting, sculpture, etc); design
(printing) to set up (type)
Word Origin
C15: from Old French composer, from Latin compōnere to put in place; see component
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for compose

c.1400, compousen, from Old French composer "put together, arrange, write" a work (12c.), from com- "with" (see com-) + poser "to place," from Late Latin pausare "to cease, lay down," ultimately from Latin ponere "to put, place" (see position (n.)). Meaning influenced in Old French by componere (see composite). Musical sense is from 1590s. Related: Composed; composing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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