Apart vs. A Part | Difference & Example Sentences

Apart and a part are pronounced similarly but have different meanings and grammatical roles.

  • Apart (one word) can be used as an adverb and adjective to describe separation or distance. It can also be used as a preposition in the phrase “apart from” to mean “except for.”
  • A part (two words) is a noun phrase meaning “a piece” or “a segment” of a greater whole. It can also refer to an acting role.
Examples: Apart in a sentence Examples: A part in a sentence
The tent was blown apart by the wind. Julie asked to be a part of our group.
The US and Europe are miles apart. He’s a respected actor who has played a part in Hamlet.
The siblings were born years apart A part of the puzzle is missing

Apart as an adverb

Apart can be used as an adverb to describe the separation of two or more people or things, or the dismantling of something into various pieces. As an adverb, it modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb.

Examples: Apart as an adverb
Talia took her bike apart to fix the problem.

The teacher made the children sit apart because they were distracting each other.

Apart as an adjective

Apart can be used as an adjective to mean “separated” or “divided.” It can also be used to describe distance. Used in this way, it typically modifies a noun that precedes it.

Example: Apart as an adjective
Keep your back straight and feet apart when you squat.

It is also commonly used to figuratively emphasize difference. In this context, it is typically preceded by a noun.

Examples: Apart used figuratively
Fred and Elizabeth’s taste in films are worlds apart.

They may both be finalists, but the athletes are a breed apart.

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Apart from

Apart from is a preposition meaning “except for” or “besides.” It is used to exclude something from consideration.

Examples: Apart from in a sentence
Apart from the last quarter, the game was fantastic.

I have eaten everything apart from the broccoli.

Some sentences may use apart from after a verb to mean a literal separation from something (e.g., “The tree was torn apart from the soil”). But if the clause that begins with the phrase apart from can be placed at the beginning of the sentence, it means “except for.”

Examples: Uses of apart from
  • The tree was torn apart from the soil.
  • Apart from the soil, the tree was torn.
  • I enjoyed the movies, apart from the latest one.
  • Apart from the latest one, I enjoyed the movies.

A part is a noun phrase

A part is a noun phrase (consisting of the indefinite article “a” and the noun “part”) that refers to a piece or segment of a greater whole.

Examples: A part in a sentence
A part of the Netherlands is below sea level.

Doing homework is a part of being a student.

In many instances, the article “a” can be dropped from the phrase a part without changing the meaning of the sentence.

Examples: Part in a sentence
Part of the Netherlands is below sea level.

Doing homework is part of being a student.

Tip
If you are unsure whether you are using a part correctly, try replacing the noun part with piece. If the sentence still makes sense, a part is definitely correct.

You can also remember that you should never write “apart of,” so you always mean a part in that context.

Worksheet: A part vs. apart

Test your knowledge of the difference between “apart” and “a part” by using our practice worksheet below. Fill in either “apart” or “a part” in each sentence.

  1. The old building was torn ______.
  2. With the cat and dog ______, the house was finally calm.
  3. Cooking at home and working in a restaurant are worlds ______.
  4. April took the car ______ and noticed that the engine was missing ______.
  5. ______ from comics, I don’t read much.
  1. The old building was torn apart.
    • Here, “apart” is correct. In this instance, it is being used as an adverb to describe separation.
  1. With the cat and dog apart, the house was finally calm.
    • Here, “apart” is correct. In this instance, it is being used as an adjective to mean “separated” or “divided.”
  1. Cooking at home and working in a restaurant are worlds apart.
    • Here, “apart” is correct. In this instance, it is being used as an adjective to figuratively emphasize difference.
  1. April took the car apart and noticed that the engine was missing a part.
    • First, “apart” is used as an adverb to describe separation. At the end, the noun phrase “a part” is used to refer to a piece of a larger whole.
  1. Apart from comics, I don’t read much.
    • Here, the preposition “apart from” is correct. It means “except for” and is used to exclude something from consideration.

 

Other interesting language articles

If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

 

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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.