Tricky grammar rules you may be getting wrong, part II

By Kayla Johnston

Since it seems like there is always more to learn when it comes to grammar (the annual AP style book updates alone could keep English professors employed), part II of this series will include some more of the most common grammar mistakes and how to avoid them.
Apart vs. a part
This is one of the ones that I see the most often when editing articles. The solution is simple, but most people don’t take the time to note the difference, or just don’t seem to care.
A part is a noun, meaning “a piece” and often referring to a person or object – The father is a part of the family.
Apart is an adverb, meaning distanced from or separated – When his parents got divorced, the boy’s father lived apart from them.
Lay vs. lie
This one makes me hesitate nearly every time, and the answer isn’t quite as simple as some of the other grammar rules.
Generally, if you can replace the word in question with “put” or “place,” then you should use “lay” – He laid his keys on the table.
If not, use “lie” – I need to lie down.
Happy writing!