Accept or Except?

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
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.

A Video Summary

Here is a short video summarizing the difference between "accept" and "except."

Accept or Except?

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

accept and except

Click on the Two Correct Sentences
(Interactive Game)

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Accept

"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.

Except

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."

Common Terms with "Accept" and "Except"

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

Accept
  • Accept a job
  • Accept a compliment
  • Accept the challenge
  • Accept the consequences
Except
  • Except for access
  • Except for him
  • Except buses and taxis
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

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? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are prepositions? What are conjunctions? What are nouns? What are verbs? List of easily confused words