Grammar 6 min read

Seperate or Separate: Here's the one that Makes you Look bad

Main Seperate or Separate Takeaways:

  • Separate—with an “a” in the middle—is the correct spelling.
  • Seperate—with an “e” in the middle— is a common misspelling of separate.
  • Separate can be an adjective, a verb, or a noun.
  • Separate synonyms include unconnected, unrelated, split up, break up, divide, and detached.
  • You can use a mnemonic device like PAR, which means pair or match in Latin. PAR also separates the “SE” from the “RATE.”
  • Other related words like separated, separating, and separately are also commonly misspelled.

Separate is one of the most frequently misspelled words in the English language.

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Understanding the proper way to spell commonly misspelled words is essential. Brush up on your grammar, and you’ll get an edge up on the competition. Plus, you’ll look pretty smart, and that never hurts.

Let’s look at the correct word to use and some examples of how to use separate in a sentence.

Is it Seperate or Separate?

The answer is separate. Seperate is not a word. Instead, it’s a common way people misspell separate. Separate is always the correct spelling. It can be a noun, verb, or an adjective. When it’s a verb, it means to divide, distinguish, or set apart. The one-letter difference between seperate and separate makes it easy to slip up and use the wrong form.

A young man holding letters A and E in both his hands. He's deciding whether the correct word is separate or seperate.
Seperate is a common misspelling of the word “separate.”

What Does it Mean to Separate?

As a verb, separate means to divide or split up. When you move two things away from one another, you are separating them. When separate is a verb, you should pronounce all three syllables clearly, as in sep-ar-ATE. As an adjective, it means something that is apart from something else. As a noun, it usually refers to an outfit made of two individual articles of clothing that you can wear together or mix with other clothing. When separate acts as an adjective or noun, you usually pronounce the word as if it were only two syllables. For example, you’d say something that sounds like “SEP-rat.”

Let’s check out some examples of each usage of separate as an adjective, a verb, or a noun.

Separate (adjective): viewed as its own unit, apart from something else
We booked two separate rooms, so I wouldn’t have to hear my husband snoring.
Separate (verb): to move or cause to be apart
We had to separate the kids so that they wouldn’t fight the whole way to Grandma’s house.
Separate (noun): An item of clothing able to be worn individually or mixed and matched, such as a pair of pants, skirt, or shirt
She built her wardrobe using separates in neutral colors for the ultimate in versatility.

What is a Synonym for Separate?

If you don’t want to use separate in a sentence, you can use one of a number of separate synonyms. Words like distinct, independent, move apart, and break up may all work, depending on the meaning of your overall sentence.

If you’re looking for a synonym for separate to use as an adjective, try:

  • Unconnected
  • Unrelated
  • Different
  • Distinct
  • Independent
  • Autonomous
  • Disconnected
  • Detached
She considered two separate possibilities before making her decision.
She considered two distinct possibilities before making her decision.
An image of cells separating during mitosis. Text reads: The verb separate means to divide or split.
The verb separate means to divide or split.

If you’re looking for a synonym for separate to use as a verb, try:

  • Split up
  • Break up
  • Divide
  • Isolate
  • Segregate
  • Part
  • Remove
  • Move apart
If you want to share the pie equally, separate it into four pieces.
If you want to share the pie equally, divide it into four pieces.

What about matching pieces of clothes? When looking for a synonym for separate to use as a fashionable noun, try:

  • Set
  • Coordinates

This one is a little trickier. Depending on the context, some synonyms will work better than others.

She went shopping for separates to dress the part for her new office job.
She went shopping for coordinates to dress the part for her new office job.

How to Remember Seperate vs. Separate

Using a mnemonic device can help you remember which spelling of separate or seperate is correct.

Since music mnemonics work best for me, I wanted to share some song lyrics that help me remember the meaning and correct spelling of separate.

In the ’90s-classic Offspring song “Come Out and Play,” they say:

Hey – man you talkin’ back to me?

Take him out

You gotta keep ’em separated

Hey – man you disrespecting me?

Take him out

You gotta keep ’em separated

When it comes to seperate and separate, you’ve got to “keep ‘em separated” because only one is correct! If you’re an Offspring fan, you’ll give the band an A+ for talent, so you know that the correct spelling is sepArate.

One popular mnemonic for separate vs. seperate is to remember the correct version has PAR in the middle.

This three letter word also provides a nice visual cue. For example, the PAR in the middle separates the “SE” from the “RATE.”

To go a step further, a little Latin helps give this one some additional context.

In fact, the word separate comes from Latin. The PAR in the middle is Latin for pair or match. If you associate the PAR in separate with pair, it matches up nicely with how separate often refers to the relationship between two things.

If you like to golf, this mnemonic will be easy to remember!

Since they were both coming from work, they drove in two sePARate cars.
Since they were both coming from work, they drove in two sePERate cars.

Common Misspellings of Separate

In addition to misspelling separate as seperate, many often misspell words related to separate. These include:

  • seperated
  • seperation
  • seperately
  • seprate
I keep my clean and dirty clothes separated, so it’s easier to do laundry.
The airplane seats were seperated by an armrest they both wanted to use.
Store your fruit and vegetables separately to keep them from spoiling.
I spoked to the students seperately to determine which one was cheating.
My parents are going through a trial separation.
The seperation of church and state is an essential part of our constitution.

Once you have a mnemonic or two under your belt, it will be easier to remember seperate vs. separate. That’s yet another grammar concept mastered. Congrats!

Let’s Test Your Mastery of Seperate vs. Separate

Seperate or Separate Question #1

“Seperate” and “separate” are interchangeable in a sentence.
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is FALSE.” Seperate”—with an “e” in the middle— is a common misspelling of separate.

Separate Question #2

“Separate” can function as any of the following in a sentence, except:
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is B. “Separate” can be an adjective, a verb, or a noun.

Separate Question #3

Which of these is NOT a synonym for separate as an adjective?
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is C. “Move apart” is a synonym for using separate as a verb.

Seperate vs. Separate Question #4

Which of these is correct?
Correct! Oops! That's incorrect.

The answer is B. Use a mnemonic device like PAR, which means pair or match in Latin. PAR also separates the “SE” from “RATE.”

Seperate or Separate
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Read More: Blond Vs. Blonde: Untangle The Difference

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Krista Grace Morris

Krista heads up Marketing and Content Creation here at INK. From Linguistics and History to puns and memes, she's interested in the systems we create to share our ideas with each other.

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