Two commonly confused words
The confusion between “accept” and “except” arises from their similar spelling and pronunciation. What is interesting about this is that the meaning of “accept” is the opposite of the meaning of “except.”
Accept: A verb, which means “to take” or “receive”; to accept a gift, for example. Or “to agree” or “consent”; to accept the consequences.
Except: A preposition or conjunction, which means “excluding” (all but) or “otherwise.” Occasionally, except is used as a verb, in which case it means “to exclude” or “leave out.”
Accept and except used in a sentence
Here are a few examples of how you might use them in a sentence:
1. (To receive): I accept your compliment with gratitude.
2. (To consent): I will accept the consequences of my decision.
3. (Otherwise): I would dance with you, except that I’m too tired.
4. (To exclude): Wheat is one grain that is excepted from the gluten-free diet.
How might you use them both in the same sentence?
I would accept your offer, except that it is not favourable.
It seems there is a pattern here whereby “accept” has a more positive connotation, while “except” has a negative connotation.
A tip to remember the difference between accept and except
The bottom line here is that “accept” means “to receive” and “except” means “to exclude.” What better way to remember this than with Xs and Os.
“X” for X-cept or exclude.
“O” for Accept; accept the whole, so to speak.
Focus on the X and the rest will fall into place. I hope that helps.
Do you have any other tips for remembering the difference?
Image Credit: PSILOVEGLASS
Please note: The owner of this image has disabled downloading of her images on Flickr. I emailed to ask for permission to use this one and she graciously “accepted” — there’s that word again :) Thank you for the use of this image, Pat. It’s beautiful.
If anyone else decides they would like to use this image I would ask that you contact Pat through her Flickr account to ask for permission and to link to her site, giving her credit. Thank you in advance.
Thanks to Dorothy Sander over at Aging Abundantly for requesting that I write on this topic. Her blog was voted as a finalist in SeniorHomes.com “Best of the Web 2012.”