What is the correct version: "The system is composed from a lattice and a line" or "The system is composed of a lattice and a line" ?

When should I use composed of and when should I use composed from? Is one of them always correct, or are there rules affecting which one to use?

  • 2
    Composed of is standard from my experience. Composed from is generally only used when the from is a preposition, not a phrasal verb particle, e.g. His works were composed from 1885-1924, or when there is some other such contextual situation. – Daniel Feb 5 '12 at 1:56
  • 2
    Neither composed of nor composed from is a phrasal verb. They're just prepositions. – John Lawler Feb 5 '12 at 2:02

We almost always use composed of, and not composed from:

“composed of” versus “composed from” chart

We refer to something's makeup (composed, made up) with the preposition of, which has a standard meaning that includes composition. Of is even used all by itself to mean composed of: "a ring of silver and gold".

  • Just curious: Does it also means that I should say "a house build of stone" instead of "a house build from stone"? – j0ker5 Feb 5 '12 at 11:02
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    First, it's "a house built", not "a house build". "Built of" is found more often than "built from", but either one is OK. "Built from" has been rising in usage. – Mark Beadles Feb 5 '12 at 16:03

Usual collocation is "of". It may read "consist of" E.g:

Water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen.

Please check compose.

  • Each is awkward, in my opinion. Instead consider "the system comprises lattice and line." – Pete Wilson Feb 5 '12 at 11:37
  • @Pete Wilson: you can't leave out articles like that. "The system comprises a lattice and a line."" – Peter Shor Feb 5 '12 at 15:45

This music is composed of melodious tunes. Very soothing.

This music is composed from heart. It's very touching.


'Of' is to create something out of something. 2 lines are used to create something. 'From' is to take from something. Unless the 2 lines are taken from another graph and transposed onto this one, you cannot use 'from'.

  • Can you please provide some justification for your statements about 'of' and 'from'? I don't understand your references to "2 lines", specifically "2 lines are used to create something." At first I thgought you were discussing production lines, but then you mention lines on a graph. Please explain your answer in the context of the question. – TrevorD Aug 10 '13 at 14:23
  • Did you see the attached graph 3 inches upwards on this page which includes the '2 lines' which are referred to in the user's question? One is blue, the other is red. It is called a graph, which is what we are talking about. These are the 2 lines which I am referring to. I will reiterate that: 'from' means to take away, as in 'to take away from', thus if we are to use the word 'from', we must be taking the 2 lines (see above graph) 'from', as in away from, something else, most likely 'from' another chart or graph. If the lines have not been obtained 'from' there, we can now use the word 'of'. – Julie Aug 11 '13 at 9:39
  • The graph is not in the user's question: it is in Mark Beadles's answer. Note the term 4 ANSWERS (at the time of writing), which appears below the question and above the answers. That is why I queried your answer. The user's question says nothing about graphs and expressly asks about the sentence "The system is composed from/of a lattice and a line". If you look at the graph a little more closely, you will see that it is comparing the usage of composed from v. composed of, in answer to the question. – TrevorD Aug 11 '13 at 11:01
  • The nondescript phrase he used in his question: 'a system composed of a lattice and a line' is hard to picture clearly. The phraseology became clear when seeing the visual example of a 'lattice and a line'. But in order to speak about a graph, I could not refer to the graph above; instead I would have to say that 'a lattice and a line' means a graph, forgetting the fact that the graph provided a perfect reference. Are you trying to say that each user cannot refer to other user's comments? – Julie Aug 11 '13 at 13:11
  • No I'm not trying to say that you "cannot refer to other user's comments". I am saying (1) Your original answer did not mention the graph at all - and there was no indication that you were referring to another user's answer for illustration purposes; (2) your previous comment did state "the attached graph ... includes the '2 lines' which are referred to in the user's question?" implying (to me) that the user's question was referring to those particular "2 lines"; whereas had you referred to "the graph in MarkBeadles's answer" (or similar), then the misunderstanding may not have arisen. – TrevorD Aug 11 '13 at 16:10

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