Accept vs Except

These two English words are sometimes confused by native speakers. Please accept my invitation to learn the difference with this lesson.


Accept is a verb that means "to receive, admit, regard as true, say yes."

I can’t accept this gift.

He was accepted to Harvard.

Do you accept this theory?

My offer was immediately accepted.

He asked me to marry him, and I accepted.

The noun acceptance refers to the "act or process of accepting, approval, or agreement."


Except is a preposition that means "excluding."

He bought a gift for everyone except me.

I know everyone here except the children.

Except is also a conjunction that means "if not for the fact that" or "other than."

I would help you, except I’m too busy.

He never calls me except to borrow money.

Except is a fairly uncommon verb that means "to leave out, exclude."

I hate lawyers, present company excepted.

Children are excepted from these rules.

The noun exception means "exclusion" or "one that is excepted."

The Bottom Line

The confusion between accept and except is due to their somewhat similar spelling and pronunciation. In fact, it’s rather strange that they do get confused, because the meaning of accept and the meaning of except when used as a verb are more or less opposites.

In the majority of situations, when you want to use a verb, that verb is accept. Except is rarely used as a verb, but when it is, it means "to leave out" not "to receive or agree to."

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