part (mass noun) is close to "some", it means some but not all thing.

a part (countable) is a separate piece of something that you can combine with other pieces.

It has been always a problem for me to choose the right one.

For example:

I think there's always a part of you that doubts what you're doing.

But I can say "some part of you always doubts," so then it is not a separate thing and then why "a part" was used in the sentence?

  • 1
    You failed to apply your own test correctly. As you say in the very first line, "some" should substitute "part", but that is not what you actually did. Instead you substituted it for the indefinite article, which proves nothing because that is always possible.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jun 28, 2013 at 12:47
  • @RegDwighт: Agree, but If you in the sentence refers to a group of people (y'all) than just "part of you" seems to be possible, because it can be substituted with some. "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed ..." (1 Corinthians 6:11)
    – mosceo
    Jun 28, 2013 at 13:17
  • I have no clue weather I can say "some of you" referring to one person.
    – mosceo
    Jun 28, 2013 at 13:20
  • 2
    "Some of you" would imply that you are talking to a group of several people (plural you), and are referring to some of them, i.e. to a sub-group of the people.
    – TrevorD
    Jun 28, 2013 at 13:46
  • 3
    Have you looked at these questions: “As part of” versus “as a part of”, and Should I use an article with the word “part”?
    – TrevorD
    Jun 28, 2013 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


The following are some of the common definitions for part

  1. a piece or portion of a whole
  2. an integral constituent of something ⇒ dancing is part of what we teach
  3. an amount less than the whole; bit ⇒ they only recovered part of the money

Both part and a part can be used to refer to a discrete countable thing

We teach several skills. Dancing is part of what we teach.

We teach several skills. Dancing is a part of what we teach.

Dancing is a discrete thing but can take either construction.

And both part and a part can be used to refer to a more general portion of a thing that is not countable

Part of the food [or money, or care] will be devoted to the poor.

A part of the food [or money, or care] will be devoted to the poor.

The portion to be devoted is not defined in these sentences as comprising a specific discrete section or item, but either construction is clear and appropriate. The addition of the article a may give a slight connotation that the portion may already be determined, but not necessarily.

The term parts, on the other hand, almost always refers to discrete items.

Speaker A: Parts of our efforts have been highly successful.

Speaker B: Which parts?

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