accept and except - the difference

To accept most commonly means to receive willingly. Except usually means apart from or excluding.

Accept and Except

There is often confusion over the words accept and except. They sound similar, but their meanings are very different.


To accept is a verb. It has several meanings:

To hold something as true.

The officer accepts your point and has decided to let you off with a caution.

  I accept she may have been tired, but that's still no excuse.
To receive something willingly.

I accept this award on behalf of the whole cast.

Do you accept dogs in your hotel?

Please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member. (Groucho Marx)
To answer yes (especially to an invitation).

The minister would love to accept the invitation to your ball, but she has a prior engagement.


The word except is most commonly seen as a preposition.  However, it can also be used a conjunction and very occasionally as a verb.
Except as a preposition means apart from, not including or excluding.

I can resist everything except temptation. (Oscar Wilde)

I have nothing to declare except my genius. (Oscar Wilde)

Marge, don't discourage the boy! Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals...except the weasel. (Homer Simpson)

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. (Winston Churchill)
Except as a conjunction means but or 'if not the fact that'.

I would go swimming, except I am scared of big fish.
Except as a verb means to exclude.

You are excepted from the ruling.
Select the correct version:



Let the first two letters of except remind you that it means excluding.  

See also:

What are conjunctions?
What are nouns?
What are verbs?
List of easily confused words

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