Difference Between Accept and Acknowledge

The words ‘Accept’ and ‘Acknowledge’ in basic definition convey the same point, which might be to agree to something. But there are key differences in the way that both are used.

Accept vs Acknowledge

The difference between Accept and Acknowledge would be in the manner that they are used in a sentence. ‘Accept’ can be used in places where we are saying yes to an exchange of items, and ‘Acknowledge’ can be used in a sentence where we are confirming the existence of something.

Accept vs Acknowledge

‘Accept’ can be used to agree to something said or a way of saying ‘yes’ to something. But, it can also be used in a phrase, when trying to convey something is satisfactory and per what we want.

‘Acknowledge’ is used in a sentence in a much formal manner, where one is agreeing to a fact or logic presented. The word can also be used to recognize the presence of someone or the existence of something.


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAcceptAcknowledge
FormThe word can only be used as a ‘verb’.It has alternating forms, such as ‘obsolete’ and ‘verb’.
UsagePrimarily used in phrases where we are agreeing to take something from someone. It can also be used to allow a new member into a group.Here, different use of the word would be to recognize the existence of something as real, or even someone.
Usage (when taking into account one situation for both cases)‘Accept’ can be used to convey that we are ‘OK’ with an outcome that has taken place. The result is to our satisfaction.‘Acknowledge’ is used to convey that no matter what the outcome has been, good or bad, we take it into account. It means that we are at peace with the consequences.
Example“I accept the result of this examination because I had studied for a very limited amount of time”.“He acknowledged the test results. But he wasn’t happy at all because he had put in a lot of effort while studying.”
SynonymsThe synonyms show the actual meaning behind the usage of ‘Accept’: take, receive, admit.Recognize, allow, confess.


What is the Meaning of Accept?

A verb used to casually say yes to some decision taken, or an item being exchanged. The word differs in meaning when the context changes. It can also be used in 3rd person singular present tense.

One usage of the word that is commonly seen is to agree to something if we feel it to be true.

Example – “She was surprised, witnessing the truth with her own eyes, but in the end, she accepted it and moved on.”

When one is in a scenario where terms and conditions are being laid down, you can use the word ‘accept’ to agree to them. Such as when a mobile application asks us to agree to its terms and conditions, we press ‘accept’.

Another example – “Simon accepted the medical test results, knowing he was to blame for not taking care of his body”

The primary use of ‘accept’ is seen in the above scenario, because the true essence of the word is that it conveys that we are ‘OK’ and happy with the decision made. We use the word to come to terms with what has happened. One may also use it to say yes to an invitation, such as – “Susie accepted John’s invitation and agreed to go to his birthday party.”


What is the Meaning of Acknowledge?

The word ‘Acknowledge’ exists in two grammatical forms as a ‘verb’ and ‘obsolete’ when used in sentences and phrases.

Primarily used to convey that one agrees to some logic or statement that has been presented, or when a fact is found to be true.

Example – “I didn’t believe it at first, but after I saw the first images of the black hole in space, even I started to acknowledge the fact that they exist.”

It is used to recognize and agree to the existence of someone or something, which could be a real object, an emotion, or a human being’s presence.

Example –

  1. Lisa acknowledged Ryan’s presence in the board room meeting”
  2. “After hearing out both parties, the lawyer acknowledged the victim’s feelings”

It is used to reassure a sender of a package that the item has been received, or when the sender asks the recipient to send a confirmation if the item was received.

Example – “Please acknowledge once you have received the package I’ve sent you.”

And one primary area where the word is used is when a decision has been made, or a certain outcome has been presented, and we are to come to terms with it, regardless if it is good or bad, and doesn’t matter if we like it or not.

We are to come to peace with it.

Example – “Even though the outcome of the match was disappointing, as it ended in a draw, both sides acknowledged each other’s skills and abilities.”


Main Differences Between Accept and Acknowledge

  1. ‘Accept’ can be used as a verb only in its grammatical form. ‘Acknowledge’ can be used in ‘verb’ and ‘obsolete’ forms.
  2. ‘Accept’ can be used when letting in a new member in some community or a group. ‘Acknowledge’ is used to recognize the presence of a member in a group.
  3. ‘Accept’ can be used to convey that we are ‘OK’ with an outcome. ‘Acknowledge’ is used to convey that we have come to terms with a decision, regardless if it is good or bad.
  4. ‘Accept’ can be used in formal-informal conversations. ‘Acknowledge’ is strictly a formal way of conveying via a letter or when speaking in a debate or somewhere official.
  5. ‘Accept’ can be used to receive an item of interest. ‘Acknowledge’ can be used to confirm that the recipient has received the item, or can be used to ask by the sender.
Difference Between Accept and Acknowledge


  1. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/accept
  2. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/acknowledge
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