Accept the Inevitable Exceptions

Have you noticed how often the pairs of words that are commonly confused are antonyms (opposites)? One such pair is accept and except.

Accept is always a verb, and it means to receive or agree with or say yes to.

  • Melanie accepted the award for perfect attendance.
  • We don’t accept personal checks.

Except can be a verb, a preposition, or a conjunction. However it’s used, its meaning is the opposite of accept. As a verb, except means to omit, exempt, or exclude. Here are some examples:

  • Melanie was excepted from the scholarship recipients. (verb)
  • I go to work every day except Sunday. (preposition)
  • She would have gone, except it was too far away. (conjunction)
  • Everyone left except for me. (preposition)

If you’re unsure which verb to use, try substituting a synonym for the word you’ve used: accept – receive or agree; except – omit or exclude. That should clear up the confusion.

If you’ve mastered these, congratulations: you’re an exceptional writer.

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2 Comments

  1. I rarely trip up when it comes to differentiating between Accept and Except.

    Although I must confess, I do tend to use grammar editing software to catch my written mistakes. :S

  2. I have no problem with differentiating between the words accept and except.

    I have noticed that many have a problem with the words effect and affect. I used to have a problem with those two words, but finally managed to memorize the difference in the meanings.
    Perhaps you could touch upon the differences in one of your Live Write Thrive e-mails for those who might be interested in learning to use them correctly.

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