Which is correct, 'I want a separation' or 'I want separation'?

And, do they differ in meaning?

  • 3
    Both fragments are (or can be) grammatical, so which is correct depends entirely on what you want to say. Please give more context. – Martha Oct 11 '13 at 13:59

"I want a separation." is correct as a sentence on its own but not "I want separation."

You can say this however:

"I want separation between church and state."

however, not this:

"I want separation from my wife." instead you'd say: "I want a separation from my wife."

  • is "separation" in I want separation between church and state a noun? – user2924 Oct 12 '13 at 4:20
  • @user2924 No it's still a noun. The verb is "to separate". Adding "ion" to the end turns the verb into a noun. – Baz Oct 12 '13 at 7:31
  • 2
    I'm a native speaker and I think "I want separation" is perfectly acceptable as a complete sentence to indicate that the speaker wishes to be away from someone else. (Assuming their relationship with, or proximity to, someone else was already being discussed.) – David Schwartz Oct 13 '13 at 4:08
  • @David Schwartz I guess its a dialect thing so as I would never use such an expression as a stand alone sentence. – Baz Oct 13 '13 at 9:29
  • @I guess its a dialect thing so. – Baz Oct 13 '13 at 9:29

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