Separate vs. Seperate – What’s the Difference?

Many writers would cite spelling errors as the bane of their existence. Although there are established spelling rules in English, many words don’t follow them, to the point where they can seem arbitrary and useless.

Nonetheless, most words have accepted spellings, and deviation will harm your credibility as a writer. Many writers struggle to remember the correct spelling of the word separate. While seperate appears correct at first blush, there is only one way to spell this word. I will go into further detail below.

What is the Difference Between Separate and Separate?

In this article, I will compare separate vs. seperate. I will outline which of these spellings is correct and which is a common misspelling, followed by a helpful mnemonic that should help you decide whether to spell this word separate or seperate.

When to Use Separate

separate versus seperateWhat does separate mean? Separate can be an adjective or a verb.

As an adjective, it means distinct or apart from others.

For example,

  • I have given you separate grades for each member of your group.
  • Another attempt is underway to establish California as a separate nation. –The Washington Post

As a verb, separate means to set apart or divide, like in this example,

  • You should separate your lights from your darks when you wash your laundry.
  • Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said Trump needs to do more to separate from his business interests to avoid violating a clause in the Constitution to protect against corrupting foreign interests. –New York Post

In some contexts, separate can be used as a noun, as well, though this usage is less common. The word means distinct units in this context.

Here is an example,

  • The furniture catalog advertised luxury-bedding separates as a premium category.

When to Use Seperate

Definition of seperate definition of separate definitionWhat does seperate mean? Seperate is a misspelling of the word separate, and it should always be avoided. This mistake is easy to make, but seperate is not correct in any contexts.

separation or seperation

As you can see from this chart, the uses of seperate are so rare as to approximate zero—since at least 1800. Despite being unscientific in nature, and drawing from data that may not be representative of the entire spectrum of English usage, the graph clearly indicates that seperate is not an accepted variant of this word.

Seperate or Separate? Remember the Difference

Define seperate and define separateSeparate has no spelling variants. It can only be spelled as such. Seperate is not correct in any context.

Luckily, there is a simple mnemonic you can use to remind yourself of the only way to spell this word. Separate has two As, just like the word automatic. Your usage of the word separate should be automatic and never falter with misspellings.

Summary

Is it separate or seperate? Separate can be an adjective, a verb, and sometimes even a noun. As an adjective, it is a synonym of distinct. As a verb, it means to divide or categorize. As a noun, it means a standalone unit.

Rarely, writers misspell separate as seperate. You should never do that. Separate and automatic both contain the letter A twice- your usage of separate should be automatic.

In summation,

  • Separate is the correct spelling.
  • Seperate is a misspelling or

As this spelling conundrum demonstrates, English can be a difficult language to master. Be sure to check this site any time you have a question on confusing words or other writing topics.

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