Common Confusion, part 1

Mixing up certain words is easy to do, but then what we write is wrong.  However, we can learn the difference, and with some practice, we can remember the right way to use these tricky words.

Together or Apart?

(Or is it A Part? Uh oh.)

Wait! First, know that a part is two words, the article a and the noun part, as in, “I found a part of the puzzle under the sofa.” Together as apart, we have one word meaning separate from, as in, “I will stand here beside the door, apart from the rest of the crowd, because I might leave quickly.”

OK, with that settled, let’s look at a few more commonly confused examples. They can be written together or apart, depending on what you mean.

  • sometime = once in a while, occasionally
  • some time = a period of time

We sometimes buy ice cream at the mall.

I will be on vacation for some time and I’m not sure when I’ll return.

  • already = before, previous
  • all ready = ready, prepared

She has already finished her complicated homework.

We are all ready for our trip to fantastic Cincinnati.

  • altogether = completely
  • all together = everyone/everything at once

This plan is altogether brilliant, and we will win the prize!

We left the classroom all together and went to the assembly.

Practice is good but the main advice is simply to keep writing. As you use words and phrases, you might make mistakes. Totally normal! As always, the point is to learn from those mistakes and by having them corrected, you will learn the right way and avoid making that same mistake again.

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