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Consist in vs Consist of


  • ‘Consist in’ (verb) means ‘have something as an essential part, quality or function’.
  • ‘Consist of’ (verb) means ‘be composed or made up of’.

What’s the difference between ‘consist in’ and ‘consist of’?

This has to be one of the most challenging distinctions in the English language. Here the verb part is the same, but the preposition that follows is different. And the use of one over the other produces a slightly different meaning.

  • A tip to know which one to use if that ‘consist in’ describes what something is for the most part. If something consists in something else, you could say it ‘is’ that something else.
  • With ‘consist of’, you are introducing the small parts that the whole is made of, or contains.
  • Most often, ‘consist of’ is followed by a noun while ‘consist in’ is followed by a verb phrase.

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How they’re used

Example sentences with ‘consist in’

  • The method consists in analyzing several samples of the product.
  • The procedure consists in adding sulfuric acid to 0.1 ml sample of serum.

Example sentences with ‘consist of’

  • Rainbows consist of several colors.
  • A polymer single crystal consists of microcrystals.