“Apart” vs “A Part”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

I was a part of a team that fell apart not long after it was formed.

Can that make for a word pun?

Well, I tried! 

Now, it is your turn to tell apart vs a part apart. You’ll also learn how to use both correctly in this article.

What is “a part” and “apart”?

A part and apart are homophones. Homophones can offset even experienced writers; they are words with similar sounds but different meanings.

Although “a part” and apart sound alike when pronounced, they cannot be used interchangeably in sentences because they have different meanings and functions.

A part is a noun phrase that means something being part of a larger one. A part consists of an article “a” and “part” which is a noun. 

It is often used with the preposition “of”, like in this sentence, “He lost a part of the book.”

On the other hand, “apart” is an adverb that describes something that is separated from others. 

Apart is often used with the preposition “from”,  like in this sentence, “The shelter kept the cats apart from the dogs.”

See also: “Sew” vs “Sow”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

How to use “a part” vs “apart” in a sentence

A part contains “a” which is an article and “part” which is a noun. Sometimes, the a isn’t needed and should be removed.

For example; He felt ashamed to be a part of the losing team.

This sentence should be; He felt ashamed to be part of the losing team.

However, in some sentences, the “a” is required for the sentence to be correct. 

For example; Her sister lost a part of her sewing kit.

In the sentence, removing a will make it less precise.

Apart can be used both as an adverb and an adjective.

As an adjective, apart is used when it follows a noun it describes. 

For example; At University, she felt a world apart from his family.

As an adverb, it changes the meaning of a verb or adjective to represent a separation. 

For example; He took the engine apart.

See also: When to Use “Passed” vs “Past”: Definitions and Examples

Examples of “a part” and “apart”

Look at the following sentences;

  • She couldn’t find a part that she needed to build the flower vase.
  • The new boy sat apart from his classmates.
  • Chrissy felt happy to be part of the handball team.
  • Among even the smartest students, Gracie stands apart.

Did you notice that the word “apart” is often used with the word “from,” while the phrase “a part” or “part” is used alongside “of.”

Tips to remember a part vs. apart

If you don’t remember how to use the words “apart” vs “a part” correctly, use this guide and you’ll never miss it.

  • If you can switch the word for “one part,” use “a part.”
  • Use “a part” when talking about a piece or portion of something.
  • In sentences, you can use “besides” or “except,” use “apart” instead.
  • When describing something separated from something else, use “apart.”
  • If you can use “away from” in the sentence, use “apart.”

See also: “Steel vs “Steal”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer


One way to remember which word to use is to check whether the sentence is grammatically correct without the noun phrase or adverb. While “apart” can sometimes be used as an adjective, it is always a noun phrase.

These grammar rules will help you write more successfully, whether you’re writing a research paper or perfecting your resume letter while using a part vs apart.