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Be a part of taking grammar apart

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'A part of you has grown in me. And so you see, it's you and me together forever and never apart, maybe in distance, but never in heart.'' _ Author unknown 

Differentiating the proper uses of ''apart'' and ''a part'' can be difficult for non-native English speakers.

The word ''apart'' has several definitions, all of which suggest separation or division in one form or another. Apart used as an adverb can be defined as separated by distance or time. For example, ''I feel lonely when we are apart''.

Apart also can mean to separate or distinguish from one another. As in, ''I cannot tell the twins apart''. It can also mean into parts or pieces. For example, ''He took the engine apart to locate the problem with the car''.

The two-word ''a part'' also has more than one definition. ''A part'' is a noun and can mean a piece of something that forms the whole. For example, ''He became a part of the family after the marriage''. It can also mean an organ, member, or other division of an organism. As in, ''A tail is not a part of a guinea pig''.

Quick tip

Sometimes ''a'' isn't necessary when using ''a part''. Try taking the ''a'' off, and if it doesn't change the meaning, you probably want to use the word ''part''. If it doesn't make sense without the ''a'', then you probably want to use ''apart''.

Practice

Choose the correct answer.

1. Do you want (a part/apart) of my sandwich?

2. Keep the children (apart/a part) so that they do not argue.

3. The siblings were born three years (apart/a part).

4. Make English (a part/apart) of your life.

5. They grew (apart/a part) over the years.

Answers

4. a part

5. apart

2. apart

3. apart

1. a part

Heather Vlach is an English-language specialist and Intensive Studies educator at International School Bangkok in Nonthaburi. She can be contacted at heatherv@isb.ac.th .

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