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Accept vs Except

People often get flustered when trying to decide which word to use: accept or except. Apart from the fact that the words sound so similar, over the last few hundred years there has also been a divergence in the evolution of American English (AmE) and British English (BrE).

We at Libertad Communications tend to keep things as simple as possible. We have found the following tips are a good way to remember the different ways of using these words.

Accept is a verb and it means to ‘agree’ in the sense of taking something that has been offered to you, a gift, an idea, a statement or fact:

  • They offered me the job and I accepted (agreed).
  • Many people today accept (agree) the fact that they were lied to by our governments.

 

Except is a preposition and means ‘Apart from’ and is used to introduce the only person, thing, action, fact or situation about which a statement is not true. Except is also used as a conjunction as in the second example below:

  • I don’t take any drugs whatsoever, except (apart from) paracetamol for a cold.
  • I have boots just like that, except (apart from) they are brown.

 

Libertad tip on knowing which one to use – try replacing accept with the word ‘agreed’ and the word ‘apart from’ for except.

  • Many people today agreed the fact that they were lied to by our governments. (accept)
  • I have boots just like that, apart from they are brown. (except)

  

Never get confused again, try these Libertad practice questions:

  1. When Bob asked Sally to marry him, she happily …………………….. (accepted/excepted).
  2. The dog likes all vegetables, ………………………… (accept/except) lettuce.
  3. All the class …………………… (accept/except) William attended the reunion.
  4. Will you ………………………. (accept/except) my gift?
  5. He’s nice ……………………… (accept/except) he smells bad.

 

Advanced Libertad tips:

Accepted can be used as an adjective to mean ‘normal’. For example:

  • In some countries, having more than one wife is an accepted custom.

 

Excepted can be used as a verb to mean ‘excluded’, in American English. For example:

  • Because Maria had a broken arm, she was excepted from the gym. (AmE)
  • Because Maria had a broken arm, she was excused from the gym. (BrE)

Why not let us know how you remember these words. Do you find them confusing?

Can you think of any exceptions to these tips?

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