Accept or Except?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Accept" and "Except"?

"Accept" and "except" are easily confused. They sound similar, but their meanings are very different. "Accept" and "except" both have several meanings, but "accept" most commonly means "to receive willingly," and "except" most commonly means "apart from."
  • I accept your invitation.
  • (Here, "accept" means "to receive willingly.")
  • We all agree except Tony.
  • (Here, "except" means "apart from.")


"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."

For example:
  • I can resist everything except temptation. (Playwright Oscar Wilde)
  • I have nothing to declare except my genius. (Playwright 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."

For example:
  • I would go swimming, except I am scared of big fish.
"Except" as a verb means "to exclude."

For example:
  • You are excepted from the ruling.

Top Tip

Except = Excluding

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

A Video Summary

Here is a short video summarizing the difference between "accept" and "except."
Accept (verb) (1) "to hold something as true," (2) "to receive something willingly," and (3) "to answer yes"
  • I accept he may have been busy, but it was important.
  • I accept chaos, I'm not sure whether it accepts me. (Singer Bob Dylan)
  • The prince has accepted your invitation.
Except (preposition) (1) "apart from," "excluding"
  • In this world nothing is certain, except death and taxes. (Benjamin Franklin)
Except (conjunction) (1) "but," "if not the fact that"
  • Making money would not change me, except I won't answer the door. (Director Abel Ferrara)
Except (verb) (1) "to exclude"
  • They are excepted from the general rule.

Common Terms with "Accept" and "Except"

Here are some common terms with "accept" and "except":

  • Accept a job
  • Accept a compliment
  • Accept the challenge
  • Accept the consequences
  • Accept a duel
  • Accept the things I cannot change
  • Except for access
  • Except for him
  • Except buses and taxis

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See Also

adverse or averse? advice or advise? affect or effect? Ms., Miss, or Mrs? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? bear or bare (witness, the brunt, fruit)? who's or whose? What are prepositions? What are conjunctions? lasagna or lasagne? List of easily confused words

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