Accept vs. Except. What is the difference between Accept and Except?


Hello English learners! This post is about the difference between accept and except. These two words are often confused because they are homophones. That is right, they have the exact same pronunciation, but both have different meanings.

I want to start with the easiest to explain. The easiest to explain is the word accept.


The word accept is always a VERB. It is an action. The verb accept has about 14 definitions! (Don’t worry, you only need to know about 4 of them)

Generally, accept means to take something, or get/receive something. It can also mean to agree to or even answer in an affirmative way (like saying Yes).

Here are some examples to help clear this up:

  • Even though Matt and Jimmy were mad at each other, Matt accepted the birthday gift from Jimmy.
  • My wife accepted my apology for forgetting to do the dishes. She said, “I accept your apology.”
  • I accepted the wedding invitation even though I had plans on that date.

So, the verb accept means to receive. If you willingly take something, then you accept it.

The other word, which has the same pronunciation, is completely different.

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The word except is generally used as a PREPOSITION. A preposition tells location.

In this case, the word is telling you where something or someone is NOT located.

Except refers to the exclusion of something, or something that is left out.

Both words Except and Exclusion both have the letters EX in them. This might help you to remember how to use it.

Another way to remember the meaning of except is to think of the letter X.

The letter X sometimes refers to something that is NOT or the word NO.

You can choose which one is easier to remember. In the mean time, let’s look at some examples.

  • Everyone in the class is well behaved, except Arthur. (Only Arthur does NOT behave).
  • She works everyday of the week, except Sunday. (Sunday is the only day that she does not work.)

I would not be a good English teacher if I didn’t tell you that the word except is also used as a conjunction and a verb. However, these are very both isolated and not used very often cases.

As long as you remember that most of the time, the word except is used as a PREPOSITION, you will do just fine in English!

And that is it! Now you should never again get those two homophones confused, except…. (Just kidding).

Please accept my apologies. (Okay that is enough.)

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3 years ago

If you ask me, in India there is so much confusion in these kind of words. accept and except are so similar to each other. My friends have been using them interchangeably. This one (and one by askanydifference) has cleared my doubts about these words. Hope everyone finds such guide.

Anastasia Koltai
Reply to  Sandeep
3 years ago

Thank you so much, Sandeep!