Make Your Editor Cry: Apart vs. A Part

Make Your Editor Cry:  Apart vs. A Part

The word apart is either an adverb or an adjective. As an adverb, apart can mean separate, a little distance, excluded from consideration, or away from each other. As a adjective, apart can mean separate, isolated, or holding different opinions. Apart from is a frequently used preposition.

The two-word form a part can mean a fraction of a whole, or in theater, an actor’s role. A part is frequently seen in the company of the preposition of.

The two expressions are identical in spelling, except for that single space, and they have similar origins. Apart came to English from the Latin words ad, meaning “to,” and pars, meaning “a piece, division, or share.” Part is derived from partem, the Latin accusative form of pars.

Don’t you find it paradoxical that a word that is all about separation came to be so similar to a phrase that has to do with being integral to a unified whole? The even bigger paradox is that the one-word joined form apart implies separation while the two-word separated form a part implies union.

A feuding couple decides to live apart. Their time together may be a part of their lives they will remember with some bitterness.

Use apart adverbially to show how two things are separated either physically, figuratively, or in time.

Examples:

Incorrect:

Mom had my brother and me one year a part.
My uncle and I used to live next door to each other, but now we live miles a part.
Natasha and Boris don’t like to be a part for more than an hour or two.

Correct:

Mom had my brother and me one year apart.
My uncle and I used to live next door to each other, but now we live miles apart.
Natasha and Boris don’t like to be apart for more than an hour or two.

A part is two words. The first word, a, is an article and the second word, part, is a noun that is synonymous with piece. Of course, a part can also refer to a piece of something in the sense of component.

I’d like to fix my classic car, but I have to order a part for it.

It can also refer to an actor’s role in a play, musical, or film.

My son auditioned for a part in the school play.

In this article, I am dealing with a part in the sense that it is a fraction of a whole. Apart has to do with being or rendering separate. A part is something that is a piece of something else that is considered whole or together. Also, keep in mind that the article a might not be essential to your sentence.

Examples:

Incorrect:

Our Ukrainian nanny Natasha has always felt like apart of our family.
May I have apart of your bagel?
Boris began to feel like apart of his community about a month after moving to the new place.

Correct:

Our Ukrainian nanny Natasha has always felt like a part of our family.
Our Ukrainian nanny Natasha has always felt like part of our family.
May I have a part of your bagel?
May I have part of your bagel?
Boris began to feel like a part of his community about a month after moving to the new place.
Boris began to feel like part of his community about a month after moving to the new place.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is 12 + 9 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)