Apart: The Meaning and Usage of This Common Word
How to Use "Apart" in English
Have you ever wondered what the word "apart" means and how to use it in English? If so, you are not alone. Many people, especially non-native speakers, find this word confusing and tricky. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about "apart", including its definition, origin, synonyms, antonyms, examples, and usage tips.
What Does "Apart" Mean?
The word "apart" can be used as an adverb, a preposition, or an adjective, depending on the context. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, it has the following meanings:
Separated by a distance or by time: This meaning is used to indicate how far or how long two or more things are away from each other. For example:
They live in two different cities, 100 miles apart.
Our birthdays are only one day apart.
Into smaller pieces: This meaning is used to describe something that is broken or divided into parts. For example:
The toy car fell apart when he dropped it.
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She tore the letter apart and threw it in the trash.
Aside; away; not included: This meaning is used to show that something is separate or different from something else. For example:
Joking apart, I think he is a great guy.
Apart from John, everyone liked the movie.
Exceptional, distinct: This meaning is used after a noun to indicate that someone or something has special or unique qualities that make them stand out from others. For example:
She has a talent that sets her apart from her peers.
He belongs to a class apart.
Where Does "Apart" Come From?
The word "apart" comes from the Old French a part, which means "to the side". It was derived from the Latin words ad, meaning "to", and pars, meaning "a part, piece, a faction, a part of the body". The Middle English apart was derived from the Anglo-Norman a part, which was derived from the Latin ad partem.
The word part is derived from partem, the Latin accusative form of pars. The word pars comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *pere-, meaning "to grant, allot".
The word apart has been used in English since the 14th century. It has several related words, such as apartment, partition, partake, partner, partial, particular, etc.
How to Use "Apart" in Sentences?
To use "apart" correctly in sentences, you need to pay attention to its meaning, position, and punctuation. Here are some tips and examples:
If you use "apart" as an adverb, you can place it before or after a noun or a verb phrase. You can also use it with prepositions like from, to, of, etc. For example:
They decided to live apart for a while.
She pulled the curtains apart to let the sunlight in.
Apart from the rain, it was a nice day.
He kept his work and personal life apart.
If you use "apart" as a preposition, you can place it after a noun or a pronoun to show the distance or difference between two or more things. You can also use it with adjectives like far, wide, close, etc. For example:
The two houses are 50 feet apart.
The twins are identical apart from their eye color.
The door was wide apart, inviting us in.
The couple was close apart, holding hands.
If you use "apart" as an adjective, you can place it after a noun or a pronoun to describe something that is separate or distinct from others. You can also use it with verbs like set, stand, keep, etc. For example:
The apartment is spacious and modern, with an apart kitchen and bathroom.
She has a style that stands apart from the crowd.
He kept his collection of rare books apart in a locked room.
The teacher set the best students apart for special training.
How to Distinguish "Apart" from "A Part"?
A common mistake that many people make is confusing "apart" with "a part". Although they sound similar, they have different meanings and uses. Here are some tips and examples to help you avoid this mistake:
"Apart" means separated, divided, or different, as we explained above. It can be used as an adverb, a preposition, or an adjective. For example:
We grew apart over the years.
Apart from her, no one knows the truth.
This is an apart issue that needs special attention.
"A part" means a piece, a portion, or a role. It is usually used as a noun phrase with the indefinite article a. It can also be used with prepositions like of, in, for, etc. For example:
I need a part for my car.
She played a part in the movie.
He is a part of our team.
This cake is for you, and this one is for me. We each have a part.
How Often Is "Apart" Used in English?
The word "apart" is quite common and frequent in English. According to the Google Ngram Viewer, which shows the frequency of words and phrases in books over time, "apart" has been used steadily since the 1800s, with a slight increase in the 1900s and 2000s. Here is a graph that shows its usage from 1800 to 2019:
The word "apart" can be found in many famous works of literature, such as Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Here are some examples of sentences using "apart" from these books:
"They walked on, without knowing in what direction. There was too much to be thought, and felt, and said, for attention to any other objects. She soon learnt that they were indebted for their present good understanding to the efforts of his aunt, who did call on him in her return through London, and there relate her journey to Longbourn, its motive, and the substance of her conversation with Elizabeth; dwelling emphatically on every expression of the latter which, in her ladyship's apprehension, peculiarly denoted her perverseness and assurance; in the belief that such a relation must assist her endeavours to obtain that promise from her nephew which she had refused to give. But, unluckily for her ladyship, its effect had been exactly contrariwise. It taught him to hope as he had scarcely ever allowed himself to hope before. He knew enough of the world to know that there is nothing in it better than the faithful service of the heart; so rendered and so free from any mercenary taint, he had such an affection for him as Wickham had not been able to inspire in him. He felt that he had no right to reproach her for being cold and indifferent, when he had been so blind and selfish as to neglect her. He owed her more than gratitude, and there was no danger of her forgetting it. He was convinced that she could not be so mean as to refuse him the happiness he deserved, and he resolved to try his utmost to obtain it."
"I was trying to feel some kind of good-bye. I mean I've left schools and places I didn't even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don't care if it's a sad good-bye or a bad good-bye, but when I leave a place I like to know I'm leaving it. If you don't, you feel even worse."
"I can't help comparing what I have with Gale to what I'm pretending to have with you. How I never question Gale's motives while I do nothing but doubt yours."
How to Use "Apart" Correctly and Effectively?
Now that you know what "apart" means and how to use it in sentences, here are some tips on how to use it correctly and effectively:
Be careful with spelling and punctuation: Make sure you spell "apart" correctly and use commas or dashes when necessary. For example:
Correct: They were apart for six months.
Incorrect: They were a part for six months.
Correct: Apart from the weather, everything was perfect.
Incorrect: Apart, from the weather, everything was perfect.
Choose the right synonym or antonym: Depending on