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What is the difference between ‘except’ and ‘accept’?

While ‘except’ and ‘accept’ sound similar, their meanings are very different, and it’s important to know when to use which one in your writing.

Accept is, most often, a verb meaning to consent or agree to something. You can accept a statement as true, you can accept a delivery, and you can accept a job offer.

Except is usually used as a proposition meaning that something is not included in whatever is being talked about. For example, “the shop is open every day except Sunday” means the shop is open Monday through Saturday.

Just to make things a little more complicated, except can also be a verb, but with a similar meaning to when used as a preposition: “Sunday is excepted from the days on which the shop is open”. 

How do I know whether to use ‘accept’ or ‘except’?

In general, the simplest way to know which to use is to ask if the word is a verb. If not, “except” is the word you’re looking for.

If it is a verb, you’ll need to look at the context. Is the sentence talking about excluding something? If so, it’s “except” again.

However, if the sentence is talking about an idea, or an offer, or similar, being agreed to, then you’re looking for “accept”.

Using ‘accept’ in a sentence | accept sentence examples

  • I would like to accept your offer of a new job with the company.
  • We accept that not everybody agrees with this suggestion.
  • It is important to accept responsibility for this accident.

Using ‘except’ in a sentence | except sentence examples

  • I like all fruits except for bananas.
  • Everyone went to the party except for Jane.
  • Cricket is excepted from the list of sports.

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