I was reading a book and there was a paragraph of explaining about a word composed of. There was few examples of its usage and I swap the word places in the sentences to improve my vocabulary. I want to know if follow examples sound natural or not for native speakers.


(describes a part of whole)

The galaxy is composed of numerous stars.

The stars are composed of giant hot gas.


(describes a whole of part)

The giant hot gas compose of stars.

The (numerous) stars compose of (enormous) galaxy.

1 Answer 1


The use of compose to mean "To make up the whole" is nearly always in the form "be composed of". One can find rather rare examples of its use as an active verb:

At that time, women composed only 1.6 percent of the US forces. (found from Cambridge dictionary)

But in the sense "to be formed from various things" you always used the passive construction "be composed of".

An alternative verb is "to constitute":

Stars constitute much of the matter in a galaxy.

Actually that's false, most of the mass is dark matter and most of the regular matter is gas and dust.

The galaxy is composed of numerous stars.

Stars are composed of hot gas.

(the example with "giant gas" is not idiomatic, as gas isn't fixed in size, so "giant gas" is oxymoronic)

Your examples do not sound idiomatic

  • Thanks for detailed answer and fixed the wrong part of sentences. Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 16:57

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