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    #1

    contain vs consist of

    Hi every body
    could you please help me to know the difference between "contain" and " consist of".
    Why did we use contain in this sentence and can we use consist if in stead of it? " The book contains a unit about food.
    And why did we use consist of in this sentence?
    The salad consists of cucumber, tomato and lettuce.
    Thank you
    Samia

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    #2

    Re: contain vs consist of

    The salad consists of cucumber, tomato and lettuce. = The salad is made of cucumber, tomato and lettuce and of nothing else.

    The salad contains cucumber, tomato and lettuce. = Cucumber, tomato and lettuce are in the salad, but there may be something else in it too.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: contain vs consist of

    Right, of course, and well put.

    b

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    #4

    Re: contain vs consist of

    Hi
    Does it mean that when I want to talk about all the ingredients, I use "consist of" and when I want to talk about part of them , I use "contain"
    Thank you
    Samia

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    #5

    Smile Re: contain vs consist of

    Quote Originally Posted by Samia Khalaf View Post
    Hi
    Does it mean that when I want to talk about all the ingredients, I use "consist of" and when I want to talk about part of them , I use "contain" However, in this situation you could also say consists mainly of, when you want to say that there are some other ingredients apart from the ones accounting for the larger part of a dish.
    Thank you
    Samia

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    #6

    Re: contain vs consist of

    It's funny, this "mainly" thing. "Consists mainly of cucumber" means more or less the same as "contains mainly cucumber". In the first, "mainly" makes the content of cucumber smaller, and in the second, it makes the content of cucumber bigger!

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    #7

    Thumbs up Re: contain vs consist of

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    It's funny, this "mainly" thing. "Consists mainly of cucumber" means more or less the same as "contains mainly cucumber". In the first, "mainly" makes the content of cucumber smaller, and in the second, it makes the content of cucumber bigger!
    Yeah, just one word making 'helluva' difference.

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    #8

    Re: contain vs consist of

    Quote Originally Posted by Samia Khalaf View Post
    Hi every body
    could you please help me to know the difference between "contain" and " consist of".
    Why did we use contain in this sentence and can we use consist if in stead of it? " The book contains a unit about food.
    And why did we use consist of in this sentence?
    The salad consists of cucumber, tomato and lettuce.
    Thank you
    Samia
    Also, be aware that there are cases where "contains" (holds) has nothing to do with "consists of" (is made of).
    A cup can contain water. A cup cannot consist of water.
    The salad example only deals with the case where 'contains' means 'consists of', 'is composed of', 'comprises'.
    In most cases, 'contains' doesn't mean this. It means 'holds, encloses...'

    Taking your book example:
    A physical book consists of paper. It contains pages. The book as an abstract entity consists of - and contains - chapters, paragraphs, sentences.... But you can't say a book consists of a chapter on food, unless that is the whole book. You can say, "The book consists largely of nonsense, except for a chapter on food."

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