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. correct tick
  • (Here, "accept" means "to receive willingly.")
  • We all agree except Tony. correct tick
  • (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. correct tick
  • I accept she may have been tired, but that's still no excuse. correct tick
To receive something willingly.
  • I accept this award on behalf of the whole cast. correct tick
  • Do you accept dogs in your hotel? correct tick
  • Please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member. correct tick (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. correct tick


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. correct tick (Playwright Oscar Wilde)
  • I have nothing to declare except my genius. correct tick (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. correct tick (Homer Simpson)
  • It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. correct tick (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. correct tick
"Except" as a verb means "to exclude."

For example:
  • You are excepted from the ruling. correct tick

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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