Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Keep both of them separate.
Keep both of them separated.

Between the above two sentences, which one is correct?

share|improve this question
    
@Kosmonaut: Thanks for the edit.. I really appreciate it.. –  EmptyStack Feb 18 '11 at 4:57
    
It might be just in my head - but the first seems to be more passive than the second. Keeping them separated feels like it should take more effort than simply keeping them separate. –  HorusKol Feb 18 '11 at 6:03

6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Both the sentences are correct.
Separate is an adjective meaning forming or viewed as a unit apart or by itself; separated is the past participle of separate, which means cause to move or be apart.

Most of the people will consider the sentences synonym of each other.

[Reference: the New Oxford American Dictionary.]

share|improve this answer

Both are correct but only one lends itself to abstract use.

Example:

You are mixing up international law and private international law. Keep both of them separate.

This would not work if you wrote "separated" instead.

share|improve this answer

'separate' is an adjective, 'separated' is the past participle of the verb 'to separate'. therefore, 'separate' means the separation is natural and permanent, 'separated' means the action of separating has been performed at some time in the past.

'Keep both of them separate' means, "they are in two different places, don't put them together". 'Keep both of them separated' means, "they have been moved into different places, don't put them back together".

share|improve this answer
    
+1 Nicely said. –  Eugene Seidel Apr 26 '12 at 8:45

Both are correct.

Keep both of them separate means move both things to another place.

Keep both of them separated means move each thing away from the other.

share|improve this answer

This is just how I would use them differently, but it is subjective; they mean the same thing.

Keep them separate

or

Keep them separately

I would expect that to be talking about objects, that are normally separate and should remain so for a good reason, such as the constituent ingredients for nitroglycerine.

Keep them separated

I would expect that to be talking about people, for example two unruly school children who have been caught fighting.

share|improve this answer

Both are correct.

"Keep both of them separate" implies more "for now". It's not perpetual.

"Keep both of them separated" is more permanent, as in they should always be separated.

I'm sure someone else knows the proper grammatical names (future/present tense terminology), but that's how they differ.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.