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Using 'Parte'

Noun's Meanings Vary With Gender

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A lesson in fractions

Una fracción indica parte de un entero. (A fraction indicates part of a whole.)

Photo by Jimmie; licensed via Creative Commons.

Parte is obviously a cognate of the English "part," and, like the English word, its use is quite flexible. It usually can be translated with various meanings of "part," but not always.

Among the meanings of "part" that parte, which in the following examples is feminine, can refer to are the following:

  • Portion or section: Está dividido en cinco partes. It is divided into five parts.
  • Section of a geographical area: Perderse por esta parte de la ciudad no es difícil. Getting lost in this part of the city isn't difficult.
  • Unit of a group: El libro es la segunda parte de una trilogía. The book is the second part of a trilogy.
  • Role: Todos tenemos culpa y todos tenemos parte en el desastre. We all have blame and we all have a part in the disaster.

La parte can also mean the related word "party" when it refers to a person, as in a legal sense: Los contratos unilaterales obligaban solo a una de las partes. Unilateral contracts obligated only one of the parties.

When parte is masculine, it typically refers to some kind of paper, document, certificate or report:

  • El parte de matrimonio es la primera impresión que tus familiares y amigos tienen de tu boda. The marriage announcement is the first impression that your relatives and friends have of your wedding.
  • El parte meteorológico dice que la lluvia continuará. The weather report says it will keep on raining.

La parte is also used in various phrases and idioms. Here are some of the most common:

  • De parte de — on behalf of: Hemos recibido $1,000 de parte de nuestro cliente. We have received $1,000 on behalf of our client.
  • En parte — partly: Los sueños son en parte una actividad de la memoria. Dreams are partly an act of the memory.
  • Por otra parte — on the other hand: Por otra parte, Santa Ana es un pueblo encantado. On the other hand, Santa Ana is a charming town.
  • Tomar parte — to take part: Alrededor de 50 atletas tomaron parte en el torneo. Around 50 athletes took part in the tournament.
  • Por mi parte — in my opinion: Yo por mi parte te recomiendo el navegador Opera. As to my view, I'd recommend the Opera browser to you.
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