I’ve struggled, lo these many years, with a serious issue comprising two interlocking problems:
1. The distinction between “compose” and “comprise” (which are not synonyms, no matter how those hacks at the New York Times use them) and
2. A mnemonic device for remembering that distinction.
Finally, Saturday, subconsciously inspired by multiple readings of this usage post and certain child-induced nocturnal stressors, I woke up in the middle of the night with what appears to be (2), thus perhaps dissolving (1) with a laser-like beam of certitude. Forthwith:
The synonyms “comprise” and “contain” both contain the letter “i” whereas the synonyms “compose” and “make up” do not.
I know; I know. It’s no “every good boy deserves fudge” or even a “Roy G. Biv.” But it works for me, and maybe it’ll work for you. Now, where’d I put that mnemonic for the amendments to the Constitution?