Apart and A part

In English, the homophones apart and a part are often confused by ESL students. These two words are examples of homophones, which are words or phrases that have similar sounds but different meanings. Words like these puzzle ESL students and can even trip up experienced writers. Clearly, one question immediately springs in our mind when we see or hear, and that is, how do we correctly use them.

Well, worry no more because we are going to simplify the difference between the homophones apart and a part in this article. Grab your pen and make sure you can use them correctly after reading the explanation.

When to use Apart

As an adverb, we use the word apart means separated by a distance in time or space. You can notice that the only difference between the homophones apart and a part is a space between the letters’ ‘a’ and ‘p’. In short, apart is a word but a part is a phrase.

For example:

Wrong: Our birthdays are only two days a part .

Right: Our birthdays are only two days apart.

Wrong: The hen and its chicks don’t want to be a part even just for 1 minute.

Right: The hen and its chicks don’t want to be apart even just for 1 minute.

Apart from

When alone, apart acts as an adverb however it becomes a preposition when we pair it with ‘from’. In English grammar, apart from is a preposition which means besides or except for.

For example:

Apart from ice cream, the cake is also my favorite dessert.

She speaks English apart from Spanish.

When to use A part

Grammatically, the homophones apart and a part are totally different. A part is not an adverb unlike apart. It is a phrase. We use a part when we specify something that is one constituent of a larger whole. For example, a stem is a part of the plant. Your leg is a part of your body, etc.

In many cases, we always pair a part with the preposition ‘of’.

For example:

Our cat is a part of our family.

After months of working at QQEnglish, I began to feel like a part of the company.

I’m glad to have been a part of your life.

As mentioned, we can pair the homophones apart and a part with prepositions. However, always remember that the article ‘a’ is not always necessary in the sentence. You can omit it in the sentence without changing the thought or meaning of the sentence. Consider the examples above. Without the article ‘a’ the sentences are still identical and grammatically correct.

Our cat is part of our family.

After months of working at QQEnglish, I began to feel like part of the company.

I’m glad to have been part of your life.

Conclusion

When should I use apart or a part? The homophones apart and a part have no difference when used orally, but they have different grammatical functions and cannot be freely interchanged.

Apart is an adverb that means separately.
A part is a noun phrase that refers to a singular piece of a greater whole.

In conclusion, it is very easy to notice the difference between the homophones apart and a part. A part should not be used as an adverb since it is made of an article and a noun.

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