Apart vs. A Part: What’s the Difference?

It can be difficult to remember the difference between “apart” and “a part.” They are awfully close in their appearance, and when you say the words verbally, they are almost indistinguishable. But despite similar sounds, the two have very different meanings, making it that much more important to keep them straight.

What is the Difference Between Apart and A Part?

In this post I will clear up any confusion you may have about apart vs. a part and give you a few ways to remember the differences.

When to Use Apart

apart or a part grammar rules“Apart” is an adverb meaning (of two or more people or things) separated by some distance; at a specified distance from each other in time or space. For example,

  • The rocks fell 30 feet apart.
  • The family was split 100 miles apart.

“Apart” can also function as a preposition when paired with “from.” “Apart from” means with the exception of, besides. For example,

  • Apart from this cookie, I haven’t eaten anything all day.
  • The whole room was silent, apart from Becky.

“Apart” can also function as a phrasal verb when it is preceded by certain verbs. For example,

  • Pull apart
  • Drift apart
  • Come apart

When to Use A Part

difference between apart versus a part grammar“A part,” which is actually two words, has a different meaning. “A” is an article, and “part” is a noun meaning a piece or segment of something. For example,

  • May I have a part of your sandwich?
  • Once we’re a part of this group, we all must pay dues.

“Part” does not always appear with the article “a,” however. The article “a” can be dropped when “part” is not followed by an adjective. For example, we can rewrite the two examples from above as follows,

  • May I have part of your sandwich?
  • Once we’re part of this group, we all must pay dues.

Be there an adjective before “part,” the article “a” is necessary. For example,

  • May I have small part of your sandwich? (WRONG)
  • May I have a small part of your sandwich? (CORRECT)
  • Once we’re registered part of this group, we all must pay dues. (WRONG)
  • Once we’re a registered part of this group, we all must pay dues. (CORRECT)

Quiz and Sentence Examples

  1. I need to become ______ of a book club.
  2. It’s been three years since we split ______.
  3. Make sure to keep your feet spread ______.
  4. He was asked to be ______ of their inner circle.
  5. ______ from the windy, it’s quite nice outside.

Display the answers below.

Remember the Difference

A good way to remember the difference between “apart” and “a part” is to remember the prepositions with which they are often paired.

“Apart” is often paired with the preposition “from.”

  • Keep those two apart from each other.

“A part” is often paired with the preposition “of.”

  • I am a part of this community.

Another easy usage test is to take away the article “a” and see if the sentence still makes sense. If you can remove “a” from the sentence and not change the meaning, you probably want to use “part.” If it doesn’t make sense once you remove the “a,” you probably want to use “apart.” For example,

  • I am part of this community. (CORRECT)

This sentence still makes sense once we remove the “a,” so we want to use “part.”

  • The rocks fell 30 feet part. (WRONG)

Here the sentence doesn’t make sense once we remove the “a,” so we want to use “apart.”

Finally, a reader recently tweeted me a cute mnemonic to remember the difference. It goes,

  • A part of me can’t bear to be apart from you.

Any of these tricks can help you remember the grammar of a part vs. apart.


Apart is an adverb, meaning, “separated” or “separately.”

  • Usually paired with “from.”

A part is a noun, meaning, “a piece of segment of something.”

  • Usually paired with “of.”


  1. A part
  2. Apart
  3. Apart
  4. A part
  5. Apart

as seen on http://writingexplained.org/apart-vs-a-part-difference


Grey or Gray: What’s the Difference?

How exactly is the color (colour?) between white and black supposed to be spelled? It is grey or gray? Do they mean the same thing? And which is correct? These are probably some of the most frequently asked questions my readers write in to ask me, so today I’m going to address this problem head on.

In this post, we will finally solve the grey vs. gray debate, so that you will never have to second-guess yourself while writing these words again.

What’s the Difference Between Grey and Gray?

is it grey or grayGrey and Gray both can function as adjectives, nouns, and verbs, with all uses centering on the color intermediate between black and white. For example,

  • He is wearing a grey sweatshirt. (Adjective)
  • You need to add more gray into the mixture. (Noun)
  • My hair quickly grayed after my thirties. (Verb)

So you’re probably still asking yourself, “Okay, when do I know when to use gray or grey?”

The answer is that the difference between them is entirely dialectal. There is no demonstrable difference of sense or function between them, meaning both words can be used interchangeably.

That’s right; using grey or gray is acceptable.

When to Use Grey

Even though the only thing separating grey and gray is a dialectical difference, it is still important to keep the audience in mind while you are using these words.

Grey (with an “E”) is the preferred choice in British English. If you find yourself writing to a British audience in an English newspaper or magazine, grey is the word choice you will want to use.

When to Use Gray

Gray (with an “A”) is the preferred choice in American English. Similarly, if you find yourself writing to an American audience, you will want to use gray. In fact, the AP Stylebook requires the use of gray, not grey.

Exceptions to the Rule

is the color grey or grayWhile it is generally acceptable to use these words interchangeably, there are few instances where you cannot and one form is absolutely required over the other.

The first is with proper names. This one should be self-explanatory. If someone’s last name is “Grey,” you cannot spell it “Gray” and have that be acceptable.

The second is the name of the dog breed “Greyhound.” This name cannot be changed, and, interestingly enough, actually has nothing to do with the color of the dog.

The same thing goes for the busing company “Greyhound Lines.” This cannot be changed.

The third and final exception is with the scientific measurement called “the gray.” This measures absorption of one joule of radiation energy by one kilogram of matter. This cannot be changed.

History of Gray/Grey

The modern day spelling of gray (grey) actually comes from the Old English grǣg. Throughout the centuries there have been many variations in spellings, ei and ey and ai and ay.

There have also been attempts to distinguish grey and gray into different colors or hues, with the color gray being a simply black and white mixture but the color grey being slightly bluer. Perhaps this is why national surveys in both England and the United States show that many people believe these are actually two different hues, even though they aren’t.

Despite the complicated history, all you need to know is that they are used for different audiences.

Remember the Difference

A great trick to remember when to use which of these two words is that Gray is used in America and Greis used in England.


So, how do you spell grey? Well, even though people get confused on the gray vs. grey debate, they can actually be used interchangeably. It is still important, however, to keep your audience in mind.

as seen on http://writingexplained.org/grey-or-gray-difference