Tag Archive - accept vs. except

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.