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Difference Between Accept and Except (With Examples and Table)

Accept vs Except

The key difference between Accept and Except lies in the fact that “Accept” means to agree or approve on something while except means to exclude something from a sentence.

Accept stands as a verb in part of speech whereas except stands as a preposition or conjunction in the part of speech.

Examples:
Accept – I ‘accept’ your proposal.
Except – I can invite everyone, ‘except’ Jason.

Although they have two entirely different meanings, “accept” and “except” are sometimes misunderstood for one another. To help make it easy, remember these sentences

  1. “The company accepts applications from everyone, except convicted felons.”
  2. “All of her friends were accepted into the same school, except the one who did not apply.”

Accept /əkˈsept/ – This word is often used to show that an idea (or perhaps a person) is acknowledged and agreed to.

Synonyms for the word “accept” may include consent, allow in, receive, obtain, admit, permit, approve, agree to, agree with, acquire, take in, get or tolerate.

Except /ikˈsept/ – This word is often used to show that someone or something has been left out of a certain group.

Synonyms for the word “except” may include excluding, leave out, other than, not including, apart from, aside from, besides, count out, but not, all but, but, save or omitting.


 

Comparison Table Between Accept and Except (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonAcceptExcept
Phonetics / Pronunciationəkˈsɛptɪkˈsɛpt
Part of speech / GrammarVerbPreposition / Conjunction
UsageShows approvalPoints to what is left out
DefinitionReceiveNot including
ExampleShe accepted the award.I like all fruit, except papayas.
Definition 2AllowOther than
Example 2He was accepted into Harvard.She could do nothing except cry.

 

What is Accept?

As a verb, “accept” means to allow or receive. It originally stemmed from the Latin prefix “ad-” (to) with the term “capere” (take).

This formed the Latin word “accipere” (take something to oneself). Through time, this became the late Middle English word we know as “accept”.

Accept usage
 

What is Except?

Used as a preposition or conjunction, “except” means to not include. It originally stemmed from the Latin prefix “ex-” (out of) with the term “capere” (take).

This formed the Latin word “excipere” (taken out). Through time, this became the late Middle English word we know as “except”.

Except usage

Main Differences Between Accept and Except

Like many word-duos in English, the two words “accept” and “except” can easily be mixed up, and often are, due to their similar pronunciations. However:

  1. These two words are spelled differently.
  2. They are pronounced similarly, but slightly differently.
  3. While they have the same ending of -cept, the beginnings of the words are different.
  4. “Accept” means to agree or take in, “except” means to leave out.
  5. Consider this mental image: “Accept” is to welcome someone into your home, while “except” is to welcome everyone BUT that person.

Meaning

The correct meanings of “accept”, by definition, are:

  • to consent
  • to receive
  • to see something as being valid

The correct meanings of “except”, by definition, are:

  • not including
  • other than
  • exclude

Part of Speech

“Accept” is always used as a verb.

“Except” usually serves as a preposition, and may also be used as a conjunction or, in some rare cases, a verb (this usually in legal contexts, meaning “to object”).

Usage

To put the difference in their proper usages quite simply, these two words can be thought of as the difference between “taking something in” and “taking something out”. As you can see, the usages have no similarity or connection.

This is why it is so important to use the correct word. Otherwise, your sentence will have an entirely different meaning or probably not make sense at all.

Examples

Examples of proper usage of the word “accept”:

  1. She accepted his apology after his tears convinced her.
  2. Although it was strange, he accepted his friend’s alternative lifestyle.
  3. The teacher refused to accept the poorly-written essay.
  4. After being cheered for, she finally felt accepted by the team.
  5. I accept that I will never become a famous movie star.

Examples of proper usage of the word “except”:

  1. We are open every day except Sunday.
  2. The twins are identical, except that one has a mole on his cheek.
  3. Everyone is here except the guest of honor.
  4. I want to forget you, except that I can’t.
  5. She invited everyone except for the people she didn’t like.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Accept and Except

  1. Can you start a sentence with Except?

    Yes, you can start a sentence with the word ‘Except’ even though it usually comes in the middle of the sentence.

    Generally, a sentence starts with the word ‘Except’ when there is a need to highlight the part of the sentence which states an exemption to the message in the sentence.

    Here is an example of how you can form such a sentence- “Except for the kitchen and drawing rooms, the entire home were fully furnished”.

  2. Does the comma go before or after Except?

    Except is a word that can be used as a preposition as well as a conjunction. When it comes as a preposition it precedes a noun or a pronoun and no comma is required before or after the word ‘Except’.

    But when it is used as a conjunction it links two phrases, clauses, or sentences. In such cases, a comma is used before the word ‘Except’.

    However, when ‘Except’ is used along with a conjunction like ‘That’ or ‘When’ a comma is not required.

    For instance, here is a sentence that fits this context: “She looks beautiful except when she gets angry”.

  3. How do you use 'Accept' in a sentence?

    Accept is a transitive verb and is used to describe the act of willingness to receive or to believe something.

    Here is an example where the word is used in a sentence: “I will accept your apology only if you say it in public”

  4. What type of verb is Accept?

    Accept is a transitive verb that is used with an object. That means the verb “accept” is followed by a noun which is the object that receives the action denoted by the verb.

    For example, “The employees accepted the new rules as they tend to improve the overall working conditions”.

    However, in a passive sentence, the noun or pronoun precedes the verb ‘Accept’. For example, “Eventually the folklores came to be accepted as true stories”

  5. What is the synonym of 'Accepted'?

    There are a few synonyms that can replace the word ‘Accepted’. But their usage depends on the sentence.

    Accordingly, some of the synonyms are approved, acknowledged, and authorized.


 

Conclusion

The English language can be confusing! There are so many words for any given thing, and also words with multiple meanings.

There are even words that are spelled the same and sound the same but mean different things or words that have more than one way to spell them!

It can spin the heads of even native speakers and can make English that much more difficult to learn as a second language.

While these two words are often misused and confused with each other, they are not blatant homophones, although some people may see them to be.

Taking note of their distinct phonetics, you will notice there is a minor contrast at the beginnings of the words. Although they can be a bit hard to hear, the difference is there.

“Accept” uses a short A or short E phonic to begin the word, depending on the speaker, while “except” uses more of a short I phonic.

Here are some simple life hacks on how to remember the difference between the two:

  1. Accept starts with letter A, just like its synonyms “agree” and “approve”.
  2. “Except” starts with the letter E, just like its synonym “exclude”.
  3. You accept/approve/agree to things that you grade with an “A”.
  4. Except, you exclude things that you mark wrong or mark out with an “X”.

If ever you still feel a little unsure of yourself when it comes to these and other commonly-confused words, there is always the trusty internet to help you clarify them.


 

Word Cloud for Difference Between Accept and Except

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Accept and Except. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Word Cloud for Accept and Except

 

References

  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/accept
  2. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/accept
  3. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/except
  4. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/except