Accept vs Except: Understanding the Key Differences

By Strategically AI. Reviewed by Rebecca Hey.
Updated November 4, 2023
4 minute read
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In the English language, two words, "accept" and "except," may appear deceptively similar, but they have distinct meanings and usages. In this article, we'll explore the nuances of "accept" and "except," uncovering their definitions, correct usage, common mistakes, and memory aids to help you use them accurately in your writing and conversations.

Understanding "Accept"

What does "Accept" mean?

"Accept" is a verb that signifies the action of receiving or taking something offered, given, or presented. It conveys a willingness to embrace or agree to something.

Usage examples of "Accept."

  1. She graciously accepted the gift from her friend.
  2. The school accepted his application for admission.
  3. I can't accept the terms of this contract.

Understanding "Except"

What does "Except" mean?

On the other hand, "except" is a preposition or conjunction used to exclude or make an exception. It introduces something left out or not included in a particular set or category.

Usage examples of "Except."

  1. Everyone came to the party except John.
  2. All fruits are delicious, except durian.
  3. I'll go anywhere except the haunted house.

Key Differences Between "Accept" and "Except"

To use these words correctly, it's crucial to understand the key distinctions:

  • "Accept" is an action verb related to receiving or agreeing.
  • "Except" is used for exclusion or making exceptions.

Common Mistakes and Confusions

People often misuse "accept" and "except" due to their similar sounds and appearances. It's essential to avoid these common errors.

  • Incorrect: I can't except this offer. (Should be "accept.")
  • Incorrect: Everyone came to the party accept John. (Should be "except.")

How to Use "Accept" Correctly

To ensure proper usage of "accept," consider these tips:

  • Use it when you mean to receive or agree to something.
  • Remember that "accept" is an action verb.

Example: She gracefully accepted the award.

How to Use "Except" Correctly

To use "except" correctly, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Employ it when you want to exclude or make an exception.
  • Note that "except" is often used before a noun.

Example: All the cookies disappeared except one.

Examples of Correct Usage

To reinforce your understanding, here are some sentences demonstrating the correct use of both words:

  • He accepted the challenge, except for the dangerous parts.
  • I'll accept any flavor of ice cream, except for mint chocolate chip.
  • She agreed to everything, except for the last condition.

Accept vs. Except: Memory Tricks

To remember the difference between these words, consider these memory aids:

  • "Accept" has the word "acceptance" in it, which relates to receiving or agreeing.
  • "Except" contains the letter "x," which can remind you of exclusion.

Accept vs. Except in Homophones

Both "accept" and "except" are homophones, meaning they sound the same but have different meanings. It's essential to use them correctly in writing and speech.

Common Idiomatic Expressions

English is filled with idioms and phrases using "accept" and "except." Here are a few examples:

  • Accept the challenge
  • Except for one thing
  • Accept with open arms
  • All bets are off except one

Accept vs. Except in Writing and Editing

Writers and editors must pay close attention to the use of these words to maintain clarity and precision in their work. Proofreading can help catch errors involving "accept" and "except."

Accept and Except in Everyday Conversation

Applying this knowledge to everyday speech can improve your communication skills. Practicing correct usage will make it a habit.


In summary, "accept" and "except" may sound alike, but they serve distinct purposes in the English language. "Accept" relates to receiving or agreeing, while "except" indicates exclusion or making exceptions. By understanding their differences and following the tips provided, you can confidently use these words in your writing and conversations.

Unique FAQs After the Conclusion

1. Can you give more examples of sentences using "accept" and "except"?

Certainly! Here are a few additional examples:

  • She couldn't accept the fact that he didn't like her cooking.
  • I'll take any job offer, except one that requires me to relocate.
  • The store accepts credit cards, except on Sundays.

2. What are some synonyms for "accept" and "except"?

Synonyms for "accept" include receive, take, embrace, and agree to. Synonyms for "except" include excluding, barring, and omitting.

3. Are there any regional variations in the use of "accept" and "except"?

No, the usage of "accept" and "except" is consistent in standard English across regions.

4. Can "except" be used as a verb?

No, "except" is primarily used as a preposition or conjunction to introduce exceptions or exclusions. It is not used as a verb.

5. How can I improve my grammar and vocabulary to use these words correctly?

To enhance your language skills, consider reading books, articles, and practicing writing regularly. You can also use language learning apps and seek feedback from proficient writers or editors.

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Rebecca Hey
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