Lately I have been seeing a lot of people use “apart” to appear to mean “together.” For example, “I have wanted to be apart of this group for a long time,” to which I would snicker and ask them if they’d wanted to leave the group but couldn’t for some reason.
However, upon looking up the etymology of it and the way dictionaries describe people most commonly using it, I was intrigued to discover that I could have been thinking about that particular usage a little backwards myself.
Instead of thinking of the a- as a prefix to mean “not” as one might with “astandard,” etyonline offers a possibility that it may actually be more akin to abroad, ahead, or well, akin, and actually closer to with than separated or distinct-from.
The concept of living apart to me still suggests a definite connection between two portions, or persons in a relationship momentarily distanced for some reason, but itself distinct from a more official severance of connection, maintaining-by-technicality the original connection, but at the same time, distanced. In that way, ‘apart’ could indicate an it’s-complicated, or a simultaneous together-yet-diverged sense kind of paradox-like complexity.
Overall, however, I think I would still ask, teasingly, whether they wished to remain with the group or separate themselves from it, even knowing what they probably meant.. but not from a sense of “you’re using it wrong.”
Comments? Please tender your pronouncements on this Facebook post =)