Suppose I live with my family in a certain town, and I'm talking to someone who lives in another town which is 10 miles away. If I say:

We are 10 miles apart.

Does this "we" refer to "me and my family"? In this case the sentence would imply:

We are 10 miles apart from you. (Even though "apart from" would not be grammatically correct in this case).

I also found this sentence from Collins dictionary:

She saw Sheila standing some distance apart.

which means that Sheila is some distance apart (from whoever was present).

Or does "We" refer to "me, my family, and you"? In this case the sentence would mean:

We are 10 miles apart from each other.

In the first case the word "apart" would have the same meaning as "away", and I'm not sure the former can be used in this way.

I know that you'll probably suggest to add "from each other" to avoid ambiguity, but I'd like to know which meaning does the first sentence have if I don't specify anything else. Could it mean both?

  • 1
    No, apart is not used with from, except in the different sense of except.; In a spatial sense it is an adverb relating to the set of two or more things that are separated, not used in any way between them.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 15 at 18:12
  • @Colin Fine. So, If I say "We are 10 miles apart.", which is correct, What does "we" refer to in the case I mention in my post?
    – Fra
    Feb 15 at 18:22
  • 1
    It refers to the people who are ten miles apart from each other - presumably you and your friend. But it could be (you and your family) and your friend.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 15 at 19:22

It means that you are 10 miles from the person you are talking to.

In the sentence below, Sheila is standing apart from the subject (She).

She saw Sheila standing some distance apart.

Which could also be written as:

She saw Sheila standing some distance apart from her.

(for absolute clarity)

And yes, the first sentence could be rewritten as:

We are 10 miles apart from each other.


We refers to both sides which are separated by the distance of 10 miles: you and your family on the one side, and the person you're talking to on the other. Since you are from different cities, you might say that your towns are 10 miles apart.

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