Many words in English are commonly confused by both those learning the language and native speakers alike. Two such words are “accept” and “except”. These words are commonly confused as they have very similar pronunciations. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the difference between “accept” and “except” and how to use them correctly in a sentence when speaking or writing.
Check out other easily confused words in English by visiting this page. Teachers and students can download this guide as a PDF file using the link at the bottom of the page.
“Accept” is a verb that means to agree to receive something, to take something as true or valid, or to approve of something. It is often used to describe receiving or agreeing to something offered or proposed. The object of “accept” is the proposal or offer being received.
How to use “accept” in a sentence:
- She accepted the job offer.
- He accepted the apology.
- We accept all major credit cards.
- The restaurant does not accept reservations.
- I accept your challenge.
- They accepted the terms of the contract.
“Except” can be a preposition or conjunction that means to leave out or to exclude something or someone. It is often used to make an exception or to indicate that something is not included. The object of “except” as a preposition is whatever is being excluded from the larger group. For example, “She eats all vegetables except broccoli.” Here, the noun “broccoli” is excluded from the larger group of “vegetables”. In this example, when a noun (or nouns) is excluded from a larger group, we can also use “except for”. For example, “She eats all vegetables except for broccoli.” However, when there is an exception to a general statement (rather than an excluded noun), we can only use “except for”. For example, “We had a great trip to Europe except for the bad weather.” Here, “the bad weather” is not excluded from a larger group but is an exception to the general statement “We had a great trip to Europe”. On the other hand, only “except” can be used as a conjunction.
How to use “except” in a sentence:
- Everyone was invited to the party except (for) Tom.
- I like all fruits except (for) bananas.
- It’s a great place to live except for the noise of the traffic.
- The book is excellent except for the last chapter.
- He studied hard every day except when he was sick. (used as a conjunction)
- I would have enjoyed the movie, except that the sound quality was poor. (used as a conjunction)
Why are “accept” and “except” commonly confused?
The words “accept” and “except” are commonly confused because of their similar spelling and their very similar pronunciations, leading many people to mix them up in writing or speech. Remember that “accept” (pronounced: /əkˈsept/) is a verb, and “except” (pronounced: /ɪkˈsept/) is a preposition or conjunction.
accept – a verb to receive or agree to something
except – a preposition or conjunction to indicate something is excluded or not included
Do you know the difference between “accept” and “except”?
Fill in the blanks in the following activity with the correct form of the word (“accept” or “except”):
- She will _____ the invitation to the party.
- I like all vegetables _____ for broccoli.
- The school _____ students from all backgrounds.
- I cannot _____ your proposal in its current form.
- Everyone _____ Paul was invited to the meeting.
- The office is open every day _____ for weekends.
- The company will not _____ any liability for the damage.
- My boss explained everything, _____ what would happen if he was not available.
- _____ for the last chapter, the book was interesting.
- The hotel does not _____ cash payments.
Answers: 1. accept, 2. except, 3. accepts, 4. accept, 5. except, 6. except, 7. accept, 8. except, 9. except, 10. accept