Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved grammar. It’s admittedly my passion. I completely nerd out on mastering strange rules, and it pains me to see certain avoidable grammar missteps time and time again online, in the media, in texts and in spoken conversation — no matter how casual the scenario!

Here at StyleBlueprint, we believe there is no better time than now to clean up our grammar game, and I’m here to help. In this new weekly video series, I’ll tackle a different grammar rule/phrase/spelling that is commonly missed, misused or ignored. Today, let’s kick things off with APART vs. A PART.

I see this mistake all the time. If you make it, you are NOT alone! But a part and apart mean completely different — sometimes opposite — things. Click play on this video for my interactive explanation or read on for a textual version of this rule unfolded!

The mistake I see the most

People often combine a + part to be one word when you really mean it to be two. It’s an avoidable mistake that can make us look silly online, in work emails, via text … even on social media. To the ear, they sound the same, so our human tendency is to write it out as one word. But ask yourself if it should be two.

“I am so happy to be apart of this team”
“I loved being apart of this project”.

Both of the above examples are incorrect.

“You are happy to be a part of that team.”
“You loved being a part of that project.”

Those are correct. A *space* part.

RELATED: 5 Things You Need to Stop Saying

So, when do you use apart?

On the flip side, apart — one word — implies separation. It can describe something you’re doing: “We are pulling the pieces of the puzzle apart.” Or it can describe a noun: “He’s a world apart.” Here are more correct usages of apart.

“We’ve been apart for months.”
“Nothing will tear us apart.”
“The cities are 100 miles apart.”

Still don’t know which to use? Here’s a trick:

1. Ask yourself if you can add the word “big” between the “a” and the “part”

“I am so happy to be a BIG part of this team.”
“I loved being a BIG part of this project.”

Those make sense, right? Because the words are separate. What doesn’t make? …

“We are worlds a big part.”
“Let’s pull this rotisserie chicken a big part.”
“Nothing will keep us a big part.”

Those are silly! Apart must stay as one word in those examples.

Take away

It’s easy to quickly type one thing when you mean the other. And I know everyone is smarter than this small and forgivable mistake. But know that these are two different parts of speech, and should be each giving the respect they deserve.

Apart can be an adjective or an adverb. It refers to separation.
A part is a noun phrase that refers to one piece of a greater whole.

I can’t wait to see you next week for another episode! NEXT UP: fewer vs. less

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