‘Apart' vs 'A Part': What's the Difference?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on February 7, 2023

'Apart' vs 'a part' look very similar, and they also sound the same. So do they mean the same thing? Let's find out.

The quick answer is that no, they don't mean the same thing. 'Apart' means to be separated from something, while 'a part' means to be integrated into something.

What's the Difference Between 'Apart' vs 'A Part'?

These two terms are very similar; in fact, the only thing that differentiates them is a space. Yet they have completely different meanings. You could even say they're opposites.

Let's find out more about the meaning of each word, and later we'll look at how to use them in a sentence.

'Apart' Definition and Meaning

'Apart' is mainly used as an adverb but can also function as an adjective. The word denotes a separation between two things.

Here's an example of 'apart' used as an adverb:

The two cities are over ninety kilometers apart from each other.

And here's an example of the word used as an adjective:

I don't like it when we are apart.

'A Part' Definition and Meaning

'A part' is a noun phrase made up of the indefinite article 'a' and the noun' part.' It is used to refer to something as being an integrated part of another thing. A fraction of the whole, if you will. For example:

You will always be a part of this team.

Note that you can often drop the article 'a' and simply use 'part' and still retain the meaning. For example:

That's definitely part of the reason I'm leaving.

Top Tip! A part is also a cinematography term to refer to an actor's role in a movie or TV show.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Apart' and 'A Part'

The good news is that 'apart' and 'a part' sound the same, so you only have to learn how to pronounce them once.

The International Phonetics Alphabet lists them like this:

/ əˈpɑrt /

And when you pronounce them, they sound like this:

[ uh-pahrt ]

When to Use 'Apart' vs 'A Part'

Now that we've got the definition of each term out of the way, let's take a look at how to use them in context. For this, I'll give some example sentences that contain each one. We'll start with 'apart.'

Example Sentences of 'Apart'

I can't figure out what's wrong with the TV; I might have to take it apart to investigate.

The next two weeks apart will be difficult, but I hope you have a blast.

They look so similar I can barely tell them apart.

Apart from the fact she's a liar, she's also very unpleasant.

It's really sad to see that their marriage is falling apart.

Example Sentences of 'A Part'

I think a part of me will always wonder what would have happened if I'd stayed.

Why don't you try to be a part of the solution instead of the problem?

This was a part of his plan all along.

I'm part of the cabin crew on this airplane.

She was a part of my life for so long and I miss her.

Final Thoughts on 'Apart' vs 'A Part'

So there you have it; 'apart' and 'a part' have pretty much opposite meanings. Here's what you need to remember:

  • To be 'apart' means to be separated
  • To be 'a part' of something means to be integrated

And as a bonus, here's a nifty trick for you to know which one to use. Usually, 'a part' is followed by the preposition 'of.' So if you see that 'of' doesn't fit, then you should probably use 'apart.'

If you'd like to learn about more confusing words like these, we've covered lots on our blog. Head over and check them out.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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