Seperate and Separate – Which one is Right?

Many times, we write words the way we pronounce them, even when there are standard spelling rules in place. Seperate and separate is a pair that many get wrong quite often. A lot of writers don’t follow these rules and as such spelling errors are sometimes frequent.

The fact is that these constant misspellings can hurt one’s credibility as a good writer and/or user of the English language. When it comes to separate and separate, most people will ordinarily spell it seperate without even thinking about it. Seperate is not a word in the English language. Though lately there has been a push for words such as this – that are very similar and many spell incorrectly – to just be officially added to the language since they are used so much anyway.

If we are to go by this logic then separate and separate will be able to be used interchangeably. If this keeps up and begins happening to other words as well, the language will become even more overloaded than it already is.

The Difference Between Seperate and Separate

In most cases, it’s never easy to really know the difference between two words that are spelled almost the same. This is often the case with people spelling the word separate as seperate. Separate is one of the most primarily misspelled words in the English language, just like other outstanding and frequently misspelled words such as consensus, allot, amateur, believe, column, etc.

Seperate seems to stand out because even graduates of the English language sometimes make the mistake of spelling the word this way. It is even surprising to note that most people don’t even know which is right or wrong. Separate on the other hand is an English word which could be used as an adjective, a verb or a noun. 

As a verb it means to divide, set apart, to be distinctive. Looking at it as an adjective it means not related, or distinct. Though rarely used as a noun, it means distinct units. Seperate is not a word in the English language and has no meaning; it is only seen or described as the misspelling of the word.

The Meaning of Seperate and Separate

Separate has various meanings; it means different things in different situations depending on the context.  The word separate comes from the Latin word separatus which simply means to pull apart. The word can also be used to describe different things such as:

•    It can be described as a period, space, or a gap that divides things.

•    It can be used to describe a place where a division occurs.

•    It be an act of disuniting two people or things and keeping them apart, like a condition of being apart.

•    It can be used in law to mean an agreement dissolving the marriage between a man and his wife which is not yet a divorce. It can also mean the termination of a relationship between two people.

•    It has its meaning too in the military – it is used to describe a departure of anyone from active duty, though it doesn’t have to mean that the person is leaving the service totally.

Synonyms of Seperate and Separate

Well, it might still look like seperate could be a synonym of separate but it is not.  Seperate is not a synonym of any word in the English language and has no synonyms of its own either.

Separate has its synonyms which are standard in the English language. There are exact words or phrases that can readily be used to replace the word separate. Some synonyms include: split, parting, divorce, disunion, break, division, break-up, distinction, breach, dissociation, and leave.

Variations of Seperate and Separate

Separate has many variations: Separation, separating, separates, separations, separately, separateness.

There are no related words for seperate since it is simply a misspelling of the word separate.

When to Use Seperate and Separate

Separate as a known word in the English language and can be used in the following ways.

As an adjective:

This is described in different forms according to the situation.

It means not joining or touching anything else. This is illustrated in these examples:

•    I try to keep my school books separate from my reading books

•    I use a separate queue at the bank

It can be used for different items

•    Can you use a separate book for your drawings?

•    Use a separate bucket for your bathing

•    Always remember to use a separate cup for the dog

•    Use a separate dining table for your friends

•    Can you get a separate room for my dog?

It can be used for unrelated things:

•    I must keep my work and leisure time separate.

•    Money for snacks must be kept separate from my rent money.

•    I keep my money separate from my traveling packages

•     I will get a separate space for comfort.

It means distinctiveness or set apart:

•    I have given you a separate room to enjoy your stay

•    Singapore will soon be a separate entity

•    Keep the lion in a separate place because of the chickens

Separate Can be Used as a Verb

To divide – meaning to break things away:

•    I will separate you two if you can’t stop making so much noise

•    This door needs to be cut into four separate pieces

•    Don’t forget to separate the white clothes from the colored ones before washing

•    You need to separate the egg yolk from the egg white

It can be used as an action word for moving away or apart:

•    Separate the dirt from this fine gold

•    Who can separate a child from the mother?

•    What can we use to separate these two liquids?

•    Who can separate a chick from a mother hen, when there are eagles around?

•    Who can separate us from the love of God?

It can also be used t so described a situation of one living apart from a spouse:

•    Jane and her husband have gone their separate ways

•    I would love to separate from my husband

•    Mary is planning to separate from George, her longtime fiancé

•    What can cause Joanna to separate from her husband?

•    Nene stays in a separate town from her husband

It can be used to describe the act of setting aside, which means to select from among others:

•    Separate me, John, and Felix for the work we have to do

•    Separate yourself from earthly things, you are not of the world

Separate Can be Used as a Noun

Though it is rarely used as a noun it should still go on record that it can be. It is used to describe distinct units.

For example:

•    When a fashion book advertises the popular maxi gown, this will separate it as a very popular fashion book.

•    There should be a separation of powers in our country.

On the other hand, seperate is not used as a correct word. It is not needed in any context because seperate remains a misspelling of separate.

Seperate and Separate – Which One is Right?

Seperate remains the commonly misspelled word of separate. Seperate is not an English word. So, the right word is separate which is a standard word in English language. It is accepted and written in the dictionary. So, we can acknowledge that we have always been in error by using seperate a real word. It is now clear that seperate has no spelling variants whatsoever, it can only be spelled as separate.

A reminder of how to use separate and not seperate

The double A reminder.

•    This is a simple and straightforwad way to remind yourself of the correct spelling. Always remember the proper spelling sas two As. Try to get the double Es off your mind and practice making the double A your default.

The a rat reminder.

•    This is a funny way to remind yourself anytime you want to spell separate – that it has a rat in it. This can stick since it a fun way to memorize. So, once you have your sep in place add – a rat – and you are always going to spell it correctly!


In conclusion, separate is in the English language as a word that is used to describe a thing seen independently, a thing apart, something distinct or different. It is also described as a word which means to create a boundary, to sort out or detach. Separate is used as an adjective for disjoining a thing and setting things apart. It is also used as a verb to act as a barrier, to move apart from a group or to move several things apart. Lastly, it is also used as a noun when distinctive units are involved.

 The misspelling of the word always comes when writers forget the A and go instead with the A which could stem from the pronunciation. Whether you’re writing a job description for hiring marketing consultants or for a SaaS conference, it’s important to communicate your message effectively.

This demonstrates that the English language can be a difficult one to master especially for the non-native speakers. The best you can do is practice lots and keep all the above-mentioned reminders in your head when using the word separate.

To really drive the point home – separate is the right and correct spelling, while seperate is simple a misspelling. It remains the incorrectly spelled form of the word separate. So, it is advisable not to use the word unless you deliberately want to spell it that way. Always use and work with the correct word which is separate.

Josh Fechter
Josh is the founder and CEO of Squibler.