Apart vs. A Part – How To Distinguish These Two Words

04.01.24 Commonly confused words Time to read: 7min

How do you like this article?

0 Reviews


Apart-vs-a-part-01

As a student, you may often come across commonly confused words in the English language, which occur due to pronunciation or similar spelling. This frequently results in common mistakes in academic writing, as they seem alike, but have different meanings and functions in context. It is crucial to avoid such errors and to understand the nuances for effective and clear communication. “Apart” vs. “a part” represents a prominent case of confused words and is outlined thoroughly in this article.

Definition of “apart vs. a part”

The word “apart” primarily functions as an adverb or adjective and describes the state of objects or individuals being separate from each other, implying a disconnection or distance in between. When “apart” is accompanied by the preposition “from,” it acts as a prepositional phrase and can also mean “except for.”

On the contrary, “a part” represents a noun phrase and consists of the article “a” and the noun “part.” In essence, it translates to “a piece,” “a component,” or “a segment” of a larger entity, often indicating involvement or inclusion. In theatre, it can also refer to an acting role in a play. This noun phrase is frequently paired with the preposition “of” to refer to the larger entity. In some cases, the article “a” may also be left out, as it doesn’t affect the meaning of the sentence and is still grammatically correct.

Apart

… mainly acts as an adverb and adjective to indicate separation between objects /individuals. As a prepositional phrase, it separates elements in context.

A part

… is a noun phrase, referring to a “piece,” “component,” or “segment” of a whole. It is a constellation of the indefinite article “a” and the noun “part.”

“Apart” and “a part” are homophones, as they share the same phonetics, but are spelled differently. As they are used in entyrely different contexts, it is crucial to understand the different meanings and functions to tell them apart. While “apart” refers to a separation or distance between things, “a part” refers to something belonging to or being a fraction of a larger whole.

Note: “Apart” implies separation, and “a part” implies a sense of togetherness.

Using the word “apart”

“Apart” is mainly used as an adverb, but can also act as an adjective or prepositional phrase by pairing it with “from.” Essentially, it indicates a distance or separation between objects or individuals. When it is used as an adjective, it commonly follows a noun that it describes. However, when it is used as an adverb, it modifies the meaning of a verb or an adjective to imply a separation. Functioning as a prepositional phrase, it illustrates a clear separation of scenarios or cases from another.

“Apart” as an adverb

The word “apart” as an adverb describes a verb or an adjective that indicates a scenario where two or more items are separated in space or time. It can be a physical or a metaphorical distance. In a metaphorical sense, it can indicate an emotional separation between two people, hence, a break-up of a relationship. Physically, the word “apart” implies that at least two items are distant from each other or an object as a whole is divided into parts or breaking, such as a document “autumning apart.” The following shows example sentences that include “apart” as an adverb.

Examples

  • The couple decided to stay apart to reflect.
  • Although they lived far apart, they remained close.
  • The house fell apart during the storm last night.

“Apart” as an adjective

When “apart” is used as an adjective, it describes a noun, which implies a physical or metaphorical separation between two or more entities. The following sentences depict examples of using “apart” as an adjective.

Examples

  • Their opinions on the matter were worlds apart.
  • We live miles apart, but we call each other consistently.
  • The time apart gave us a different perspective.

“Apart” as a prepositional phrase

When the preposition “from” accompanies the word “apart,” it functions as a prepositional phrase. It is prominently used to imply a clear distance or separation between two or more entities. In some cases, it can also mean “except for.” The sentences below give clear examples of using “apart” as a prepositional phrase.

Examples

  • Apart from ice skating, I also ski and snowboard.
  • They made sure to keep them apart from each other.
  • It is important to tell the mouse apart from the rat.

Tip for using “apart” correctly

To remember how to use “apart” correctly in a sentence, you can replace the word with synonyms that convey the same meaning, as shown in the table below.

Synonyms Examples
Away from (prepositional phrase) It is best to keep them apart from each other.
It is best to keep them away from each other.
Distant (adjective) The island and the lagoon seem far apart.
The island and the lagoon seem distant.
Separately (adverb) We should travel apart for a while.
We should travel separately for a while.

Using the word “a part”

“A part” is a combination of the article “a” and the noun “part” and refers to a noun phrase. It translates to a fraction of a whole entity. In theatre, it can also refer to an acting role in a play. The following example sentences showcase using the noun phrase “a part.”

Examples

  • She has been a part of the community for many years.
  • Break-ups are a part of lessons learned in life.
  • I have finally been assigned a part in a play.

Oftentimes, the article “a” can be omitted without changing the meaning of a sentence and still have a correct grammatical structure.

Examples

  • She has been (a) part of the community for many years.
  • If you take (a) part in this, I can’t support you anymore.
  • This has been (a) part of the plan from the beginning.

Tip for using “a part” correctly

Using synonyms for “a part” interchangeably may improve your writing skills and prevent repetition and redundancy in your paper. By this, you can adapt to stylistic preferences that the readers request. The following table shows example sentences using alternative words for “a part.”

Synonyms Examples
Fragment His side was only a part of the whole story.
His side was only a fragment of the whole story.
Piece This is only a part of the cake.
This is only a piece of the cake.
Role I have auditioned for a part in the upcoming play.
I have auditioned for a role in the upcoming play.

Test yourself!

Practice sheet

You can test your knowledge about when to use “apart” or “a part” by filling in the blanks in this practice sheet. cheque if your answers are correct in the second tab.

  1. They decided to live ___ for a while to reflect on their situation.
  2. He was ___ of the medical team that helped people after the fire.
  3. The twins look identical but have personalities worlds ___.
  4. Being ___ of the team gave him new motivation.
  5. The car fell ___ as soon as it came out of the repair.
  6. They finally got ___ together in the school play.
  7. During recovery, it was essential to keep them ___.
  8. Instruments have always been ___ of her life.
  9. Their relationship drifted ___ over the years.
  10. The reward was just ___ of his journey to become a renowned musician.
  1. They decided to live apart for a while to reflect on their situation.
  2. He was a part of the medical team that helped people after the fire.
  3. The twins look identical but have personalities worlds apart.
  4. Being a part of the team gave him new motivation.
  5. The car fell apart as soon as it came out of the repair.
  6. They finally got a part together in the school play.
  7. During recovery, it was essential to keep them apart.
  8. Instruments have always been a part of her life.
  9. Their relationship drifted apart over the years.
  10. The reward was just a part of his journey to become a renowned musician.
Ensure your final paper is free from plagiarism
Failure to correctly credit original sources most likely leads to mark deductions. Don’t risk it and utilise our online plagiarism checker, which allows you to detect potential plagiarism that you may have committed. Get confident in just 10 minutes!

FAQs

In this context, it is “a part of a team,” as it refers to a noun that indicates a piece of a larger whole.

As this article outlines, “apart” implies a separation or distance between two or more items. Here are some example sentences using the word “apart.”

Examples

  • The attorney suggested living apart until the court date.
  • The siblings were only three years apart in age.

“Apart from” can mean “except for,” “including,” or “excluding,” as shown in the examples below.

Examples

  • Apart from cooking, he also enjoys reading books.
  • She tolerates all kinds of food apart from carrots.

The word “apart” refers to a sense of separation, which can be physical or metaphorical. It describes a distance between two or more items/entities.

On the other hand, “a part” refers to a sense of togetherness. It translates to a piece of a larger whole. In theatre, it describes the role in a play.

Synonyms for “apart” are “separated,” “distant,” “divided,” “away,” or ”isolated.”