"Comprised Of" Edited Off the Face of Wikipedia

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Joe Riley, May 2, 2015.

  1. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member

    Mar 3, 2015
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    Also "Based around" is being exterminated.;)

    "Comprised of" is in common usage, however, and most people don't realise it's wrong. But Bryan Henderson is on a mission to change that. Backchannel reports that the 51-year-old software engineer is an extraordinarily active contributor to Wikipedia, making 47,000 edits over the past decade — almost exclusively to correct other editors' incorrect usage of "comprised of."

    "Henderson told Backchannel that when he made his first edits "and nobody came back and scolded me for it," he was hooked. He initially identified 15,000 incorrect uses of the term using Google and began methodically working through them. There was a backlash from editors, which "came as quite a surprise," as other Wikipedia users were irked to be corrected on a mistake they didn't realise they had made.

    "But Henderson persevered, and he wrote scripts that would hunt down uses of the term and flag them for him to correct. He has now corrected every single misuse of "comprised of" on English-language Wikipedia — no mean feat, considering the site has more than 4.7 million articles. Nonetheless, between 70 and 80 new ones appear on the site each week, according to Backchannel, and Henderson spends about an hour every Sunday night hunting them down.

    "He has even inspired his brother to take up a similar cause. Robin Henderson now keeps an eye out for the incorrect term "based around" (it should be "based on") on Wikipedia — though he says he doesn't have the same "search and destroy" attitude as Bryan".
  2. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
    Moderator Registered

    Jan 21, 2015
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    That's a tough one because it looks right and it feels right. If not for my grammar checker pointing it out to me not so long ago, I would still be using it. Quite likely, it will be considered proper grammar before long. That's how language works.
  3. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member

    Apr 17, 2015
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    Language evolves. I studied both 19th-century literature and linguistics and it would look very odd if I wrote English in the style of a 19th-century writer or speaker. Words evolve with the language. I remember a former work colleague being puzzled by her spell-checker highlighting the word 'liaise' in a document. I had an answer to that - the verb 'to liaise' is what is known as a back formation. It was taken from the existing noun 'liaison'. That's the way these things work.

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