Apart vs. A Part: When to Use Apart vs. A Part with Useful Examples

Anyone, whether English is their first or second language, can find themselves confused when it comes to words that are spelled the same except for a space that exists in one of the words but doesn’t exist in the other. One such pair is apart vs. a part. These two words, though they look so similar, have very different meanings and it’s important to know the difference between them.

Apart vs. A part: Understanding the Basics

Apart vs. A Part

Key Takeaways

  • Apart (one word) is used to indicate a separation or distance between two or more entities. It often appears in conjunction with the word ‘from’, e.g., “The cat stays apart from the dog.”
  • A part (two words), however, refers to a piece or portion of a whole. It implies inclusion and is used when something belongs to a larger entity, e.g., “The engine is a part of the car.”

Definitions

What Does “apart” Mean?

APART is an adverb that shows that something is separated from something else.

Examples:

  • He tore the curtain apart and looked out.
  • We made a deliberate decision to live apart for a while.

What Does “a part” Mean?

A PART, in contrast, is a noun that can have two different meanings. It mostly means “a fraction of a whole” but if you’re talking about a part in the context of theatre or cinema, it means “a role of an actor”.

Examples:

How to Use Apart or A Part Correctly?

How to Use Apart

When you’re talking about two things that are separated from each other, be it in time, literally or figuratively, you need to use apart as one word. An example would be when you say, “The two sisters have never spent more than a week apart from each other”.

You can also use apart when you’re talking about rendering something to pieces. For instance, you can say that there was a very close and friendly community at your school but the new headmaster tore everyone apart.

Finally, instead of saying except for, you can say apart from. For example, apart from the cucumbers in the salad that tasted funny, the meal was excellent”.

How to Use A Part

When it comes to a part as two words, it can also be used in different contexts. You might ask someone for a part of their sandwich. You might say that you feel as if your closest friend was a part of your family now. Or, you might state that tomorrow you will audition for a part in the school play.

Helpful Tips

How do you remember the difference? There are two things you can do. Your first option is to remember the prepositions that usually go together with each word. Apart is often accompanied by from, e.g. “Everyone in the room was quiet, apart from Mary”, while a part often goes with of, e.g. “Once I came to the new city, I started feeling like a part of the community”.

The second option that you have is to check whether you can remove from the sentence. If you do that and the sentence still makes sense, you need to use a part; otherwise, use apart. For instance, you can say, “I want to become part of this club” instead of “I want to become a part of this club”, but you can’t say, “We split part two years ago” instead of “We split apart two years ago”.

Apart vs. A Part Examples in Sentences

Examples of “Apart” in Sentences

  1. They decided to live apart for a while to sort out their differences.
  2. The magnets snapped apart when they were forcibly pulled.
  3. Keep the fragile items apart to prevent them from breaking during the move.
  4. His distinct style sets him apart from other artists in his genre.
  5. The two friends grew apart after going to different colleges.

Examples of “A Part” in Sentences

  1. She played a part in the school play.
  2. Being a part of a community gives one a sense of belonging.
  3. The engine needs a new part to run properly.
  4. He couldn’t imagine life without being a part of the team.
  5. Each member is a part of the project’s success.

Examples of Sentences that Use Both “Apart” and “A Part

  1. The twins were inseparable as children, but as adults, they lived apart and each became a part of different social circles.
  2. The machine fell apart because a part of it was not installed correctly.
  3. Their collaboration set them apart in the industry, and each contributed a part to the project’s innovation.
  4. After the argument, they took some time apart to reflect on what being a part of the relationship meant to them.
  5. The antique clock was taken apart by the expert, who carefully examined each part to ensure proper restoration.

Practices

Multiple Choice

For each sentence, choose the correct word to complete the sentence.

  1. The twins hate being (A) apart (B) a part from each other for too long.
  2. She is (A) apart (B) a part of the local book club.
  3. The machine was taken (A) apart (B) a part to be cleaned and serviced.
  4. Being (A) apart (B) a part of a community gives people a sense of belonging.
  5. The siblings stood (A) apart (B) a part from the crowd, not wanting to mingle.
  6. To fix the issue, you need to order (A) apart (B) a part specifically designed for this model.
  7. He always sets time (A) apart (B) a part for his family despite his busy schedule.
  8. The success of the project is (A) apart (B) a part due to the hard work of the entire team.
  9. The island is set (A) apart (B) a part by its unique flora and fauna.
  10. She played (A) apart (B) a part in the school play that was memorable for everyone who saw it.

Answers:

  1. A) apart
  2. B) a part
  3. A) apart
  4. B) a part
  5. A) apart
  6. B) a part
  7. A) apart
  8. B) a part
  9. A) apart
  10. B) a part

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between ‘apart’ and ‘a part’?

‘Apart’ is commonly used as an adverb that suggests a separation between two things or a state of being distanced. For instance, “The kittens were kept apart to avoid a scuffle.” In contrast, ‘a part’ is a noun phrase indicating a component or a portion of a larger whole. For example, “She played a significant part in the project’s success.”

When should one use ‘apart from’?

‘Apart from’ serves as a preposition and is used to indicate exclusion or to differentiate one item from a list, synonymous with ‘except for’. For instance, “Apart from the final chapter, the book was gripping.”

Is there a tip to remember the use of ‘apart’ and ‘a part’?

One might remember to use ‘a part’ (two words) when referring to something that is a piece of a larger entity. If the term indicates division, separation, or exclusion, ‘apart’ (one word) is the proper choice.

Can ‘apart’ ever be used as anything other than an adverb?

Yes, ‘apart’ can also function as an adjective in some contexts, describing something as separate or segregated.

Usage Function Example
apart Adverb The siblings live apart from each other.
apart Adjective The issue stands apart as the most crucial one.
a part Noun Phrase The engine is a part of the car’s mechanism.