Learn English – made of vs made up of


I'd really value your thoughts on this one.

I'm familiar with the following use of 'made of':

The shirt is made of silk.

But I'd like to know if anyone thinks using this phrasal verb as a synonym for comprise/consist of/be composed of/made up of is actually grammatically correct/non-standard usage.

The board is made of five members.

The board is made up of five members.

A few instances of this usage came up on a google search, but I'm not convinced…

Best Answer

The phrase made of is more appropriate when the material that forms the object is not described as consisting of discrete units or amounts, while made up of is more appropriate for a whole composed of several discrete units.

The car was made of steel


The car was made up of various steel parts

Boards consist of discrete individuals or groups of individuals (or the discrete entities they represent); therefor made up of is preferred.

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