Grammar Tips: Apart vs A Part

In this age of the internet, texting shorthand, auto correct, and everyone determined to communicate as fast as possible, grammar seems archaic and boring. Yet at the same time it is the framework that allows for accurate communication and understanding. Take for instance the two words “apart” and “a part”. Did you know those have completely different meanings? Do you know the context in which each is meant to be used? Because I have discovered that many people seem to have no idea, or maybe just don’t proofread before they post.

For example, I cannot count the times I have seen this written:

“I am SO glad to be apart of this family!” or “It was so fun being apart of this event!”

Wait, what? So, are you really glad, or are you saying that sarcastically? Because “apart” means “separated from, distant, not connected”, while “a part” means “a piece or segment that combined makes up the whole; belonging to, connected”.

It is confusing, I know. I get it. So, here are two tips to help remember which word to use.

Tip #1: Think of them backwards. The one with no space is the one you use when something is separate. “The radio came apart when it was smashed with a hammer”, “Everything was great, apart from the math lesson”, etc. The one with the space is the one you use when you are indicating something that is connected. “Shakespeare is a part of literary history”, “It was so fun being part of this event”, etc. In many cases you can drop the “a” and just say “part”. So if you can drop the “a” and the sentence makes sense, use a space or just use “part”.

Tip #2: Know the difference between “from” and “of”. Almost every time it is “apart from” or “a part of”. If the sentence requires “of”, then use “part” or “a part”. If the sentence requires “from”, then use “apart”. For example, you would not say “I am so glad to be a part from this family”, but “I am so glad to be a part of this family” is correct. “I want to be apart of this group” is incorrect, but “I want to be part of this group” is correct.

Because English is complicated and ridiculous, there many be some exceptions to these tips, but they are accurate the vast majority of the time. Good luck!