One reason I love doing these Grammar Rules posts is that they help me personally with my own writing and understanding of grammar. One of my admitted weak spots is when I'm trying to figure out when to use one-word versus two-word spellings (for example, a while vs. awhile).
So this week, let's look at the differences between apart and a part and when to use each.
Apart vs. A Part
Apart can be used as an adverb or adjective. As an adjective, it describes someone or something as being separate, isolated, or having different opinions. As an adverb, apart refers to separation of distance, being separate (or independent), in two or more parts, or excluded from consideration.
Meanwhile, the part in a part is a noun that can refer to several things, including a piece of something or someone, a body organ, lines from a play, a musical piece, and more. A few synonyms for part include section, segment, piece, and portion.
Here are a couple examples of apart and a part:
Correct: She thinks they're still too far apart on the asking price of their house.
Incorrect: She thinks they're still too far a part on the asking price of their house.
Correct: He was offered a part in the upcoming play.
Incorrect: He was offered apart in the upcoming play.
Here's my trick for keeping these two in line: If I can replace the "part" in "apart" with a synonym like "piece" or "segment" without losing meaning, then I probably need to use the two-word spelling. If I can't, then I likely need the one-word option.
No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.