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Grammar Tips & Tidbits


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Accept or Except?


In this week's tip, we'll discuss accept and except, two words that people accidentally interchange when they're writing. Let's begin with a quick quiz!

In which of the following sentences are accept and except used correctly?

1.  I would like to except your proposal.
2.  The whole family has red hair accept Joyce.
3.  Ted enjoys playing all sports accept soccer.
4.  She refused to except my apology.
5.  All the students were in attendance accept Zach.

So, which of the above sentences are correct? If you answered "None of them," you're absolutely right!

The following excerpt from the English Plus+ website provides some basic definitions for accept and except:


Accept means "to receive."

Except is usually a preposition meaning "but" or "leaving out." However, except can also be a verb meaning "to leave out."

As verbs, accept and except are nearly antonyms, so the difference is important! ¹


Professor Paul Brians' website,  Common Errors in English, offers a perfect tip for remembering the difference between accept and except:


If you offer me Godiva chocolates I will gladly accept them—except for the candied violet ones.

Just remember that the "X" in "except" excludes things―they tend to stand out, be different.

In contrast, just look at those two cozy "C's" snuggling up together. Very accepting.

And be careful; when typing "except" it often comes out "expect." 


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1. English Plus+ authors. "Accept or Except?" English Plus+.
         accessed March 14, 2007. Published with permission.

2. Brians, Paul. "Accept/Except." Common Errors in English.
         accessed March 14, 2007. Published with permission.