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The Difference Between Accept Or Except Simplified

Published by at February 6th, 2024 , Revised On February 27, 2024

Language is a powerful tool that allows us to communicate ideas, thoughts, and emotions. However, the intricacies of language can sometimes lead to confusion, especially when it comes to words that sound similar or look alike. 

One such pair of confusing words that often perplexes individuals is “accept” and “except.” These two words share a resemblance, yet their meanings and usage are distinct. In this blog post, we will talk about “accept” vs “except,” exploring their differences through clear explanations and illuminating examples.

Example Correct Usage Explanation
She accepted the challenge. “Accepted” Positive action of agreeing to take on a challenge.
All students passed the exam, except Tom. “Except” Indicates an exclusion, specifying one person who did not pass.
They decided to accept the job offer. “Accept” Implies willingly agreeing to and taking the job.
The store is open every day except Sundays. “Except” Indicates an exclusion; the store is closed on Sundays.
He graciously accepted the award. “Accepted” Positive action of receiving the award with gratitude.
I like all fruits, except bananas. “Except” Specifies an exception, indicating dislike for bananas.
Everyone is invited to the party, except John. “Except” Excludes John from the general invitation.
The committee accepted the proposal unanimously. “Accepted” Signifies approval and agreement with the proposal.


Let’s begin by examining the word “accept.” 

“Accept” is a verb that conveys the idea of receiving something willingly, agreeing to its presence, or approving of it. When you accept something, you are acknowledging it and embracing it with a positive stance.

Example Sentences Using “Accept”

  • Sarah graciously accepted the award for her outstanding contributions to the community.
  • Despite the challenges, John decided to accept the job offer and embark on a new professional journey.
  • The school eagerly accepted the donation, which would enhance the students’ learning experience.
  • It is essential to accept diversity and appreciate the uniqueness of each individual.


On the other hand, 

“Except” is a preposition or conjunction that introduces an exclusion or exclusionary clause. It is used to indicate something that is excluded from a general statement or to specify exclusions within a particular context.

Example Sentences Using “Except”

  • Everyone attended the meeting except Sarah, who had a prior commitment.
  • The store is open every day except Sundays.
  • All the students completed the assignment except for one who was absent.
  • I like all fruits except bananas.

Distinguishing Features

Now that we have examined the basic definitions and example sentences for “accept” and “except,” let’s highlight the key distinguishing features that set these words apart.

Usage As Verbs

  • “Accept” functions as a verb, indicating the action of willingly receiving or approving something.
  • Example: She accepted the invitation to the party.

Usage As Preposition/ Conjunction

  • “Except” is primarily used as a preposition or conjunction, introducing exclusions or exceptions.
  • Example: All the ingredients are available except for the sugar.

Positive Vs. Exclusive Connotations

  • “Accept” carries positive connotations, signifying agreement or approval.
  • “Except” implies exclusion or exception, often narrowing down possibilities.
  • Example: She accepted the challenge with enthusiasm. (Positive)
  • Example: All students passed the test except for James. (Exclusive)

Acceptance Vs. Exclusion

  • “Accept” involves the act of accepting or welcoming something into one’s life.
  • “Except” involves the act of excluding or making an exception.
  • Example: The team accepted the new member warmly. (Acceptance)
  • Example: Everyone is invited to the party except Tom. (Exclusion)

Common Pitfalls

Understanding the differences between “accept” and “except” can be challenging, and there are common pitfalls that individuals may encounter.

Spelling Confusion

The similarity in spelling can lead to accidental misuse.

Tip: Remember that “accept” has the letter ‘a’ in the middle, just like the word “agree.”

Contextual Ambiguity

In certain sentences, both words might seem plausible, leading to confusion.

Tip: Consider the overall meaning of the sentence; if it implies approval or agreement, “accept” is likely the correct choice.

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Concluding Table

Aspect Accept Except
Part of Speech Verb Preposition/Conjunction
Meaning Agree to receive, approve, or welcome Exclude or introduce exceptions
Positive/Negative Positive Can imply exclusion or exception
Example Sentence She accepted the gift with gratitude. All guests are invited except for Tom.
Usage Tip Contains ‘a’ like ‘agree’ Think of ‘exclude’; narrowing possibilities

Frequently Asked Questions

“Accept” is a verb indicating agreement or approval, while “except” is a preposition or conjunction introducing exclusions. Accept is to willingly receive, while except is to exclude or make an exception. The key difference lies in positive acceptance versus exclusion or exception.

You “accept” a job when you agree to take the position willingly. “Except” is not applicable in this context. So, if you receive a job offer and agree to it, you would “accept” the job, embracing the opportunity and becoming part of the organisation.

No, “except” is not the opposite of “accept.” “Accept” means to receive or agree, while “except” introduces exclusions or exceptions. They have distinct meanings, with “accept” involving approval and agreement, and “except” specifying exclusions or making exceptions within a group or statement.

To remember “accept” and “except,” consider that “accept” contains the letter ‘a’ like “agree,” signifying agreement or approval. On the other hand, “except” implies exclusion or making an exception, narrowing down possibilities. This mnemonic helps differentiate their meanings and usage in various contexts.

The correct phrase is “accept me.” “Accept” signifies a positive action of receiving or approving. On the other hand, “except” implies exclusion or exception. So, if you want someone to embrace or approve of you, use “accept,” not “except,” which would convey the opposite, indicating exclusion.

You “accept” an invitation. “Accept” implies a positive response to receiving and agreeing to participate in an event. On the contrary, “except” is unsuitable in this context, as it denotes exclusion. So, when you receive an invitation, the appropriate term is to graciously “accept” it.

About Alvin Nicolas

Avatar for Alvin NicolasNicolas has a master's degree in literature and a PhD degree in statistics. He is a content manager at ResearchProspect. He loves to write, cook and run. Nicolas is passionate about helping students at all levels.