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Difference between accept or except

DALL·E 2024 02 07 17.46.22 A modern classroom with students of diverse backgrounds engaging in a discussion about the nuances of language highlighting the words accept and e

In the English language, the words accept and except often cause confusion due to their similar pronunciation and spelling. However, they have distinct meanings and uses. Accept is a verb that means to receive or to agree to something, while except is usually a preposition or a conjunction that means excluding or if not. Understanding the difference between these two words is crucial for clear and correct English communication.

Quick Facts Table

Part of SpeechVerbPreposition, Conjunction
MeaningTo receive or agree to somethingExcluding or if not
UsageIndicating agreement or receiptIndicating exclusion or exception

Difference Between Accept and Except

Definition of Accept

Accept is a verb that means to receive something willingly or to give an affirmative response to an offer, invitation, or set of circumstances. It implies a positive reaction towards what is being offered or proposed.

Definition of Except

Except functions primarily as a preposition or a conjunction, meaning excluding something or someone, or introducing an exception. It denotes the exclusion of a particular thing from a general statement or category.

Origin of Accept

The word accept originates from the Latin word accipere, which means “to take or receive willingly.”

Origin of Except

Except comes from the Latin word excipere, meaning “to take out,” which reflects its function of indicating exclusion.


  • Accept: /əkˈsɛpt/
  • Except: /ɪkˈsɛpt/

Comparing Accept and Except

When comparing accept and except, it’s important to note their distinct roles in language:

  • Accept is used when indicating agreement or receptiveness towards something.
  • Except is used to specify a condition or to exclude something from a general statement.

Comparison Table

FunctionVerb indicating agreement or receptionPreposition or conjunction indicating exclusion
Context UsedWhen agreeing to or receiving somethingWhen excluding something or specifying an exception
Example“I accept your offer.”“Everyone went to the meeting except John.”

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Accept in Sentences

  1. She decided to accept the job offer after much consideration.
    • Here, accept indicates her agreement to take the job.
  2. I accept your apology and hope we can move forward.
    • Accept is used to show that the apology was received positively.
  3. We must accept the terms and conditions to proceed.
    • This sentence uses accept to indicate agreement to specific stipulations.
  4. He didn’t accept the gift out of pride.
    • Accept is used to denote the refusal to receive something.
  5. Can you accept that things have changed?
    • Here, accept means to acknowledge the reality of a situation.

Use of Except in Sentences

  1. Everyone is invited except Mia.
    • Except is used to exclude Mia from the general statement.
  2. I would go to the party except I have to work early tomorrow.
    • Here, except introduces a condition that prevents the action.
  3. All the cookies were eaten except the last one.
    • Except is used to indicate what is excluded from being eaten.
  4. She would have finished the race except for her injury.
    • Except introduces the reason for not completing the race.
  5. Except in emergencies, please do not call me at night.
    • In this sentence, except specifies an exception to the request.


The distinction between accept and except lies in their functions within the English language: accept as a verb that means to receive or agree, and except as a preposition or conjunction that signifies exclusion. Understanding and correctly using these terms enhances clarity and precision in communication.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • What are some common mistakes when using “accept” and “except”?
    • Confusing accept for except in sentences, leading to a change in meaning.
    • Using except when an agreement or acceptance should be conveyed.
  • How can I remember the difference between “accept” and “except”?
    • Associate accept with agreement and reception, as both start with “a.”
    • Think of except as excluding something, with the “ex-” prefix suggesting exclusion.
  • Can “except” ever be used as a verb?
    • Yes, though less commonly, except can be used as a verb meaning to exclude, but its usage as a preposition or conjunction is more frequent.
Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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