Professional Style


November 2015
Spot the Error

Cody told his girlfriend that he had never been apart of the Lambda Chi fraternity nor its questionable hazing practices.

Which is it—apart or a part? One word or two?

Apart has several meanings, including:

  • Separate in place or time (Lovers are sad to be apart from each other.)
  • Into pieces or parts (Joe had to take apart the carburetor to fix it.)
  • To or at one side (The surfers sat apart from the sunbathers.)

In the “fraternity” sentence above, however, it should be two words.

One way to test whether you should use apart or a part is by substitution. Using a different term for part (such as member in the “fraternity” sentence) makes it clear that, in this case, it is two words. In the three apart sentences, there is no replacement word for part because they are not referring to a specific part at all.

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