Accept vs. Except: Difference in Simple Terms

People often use the word accept when they mean except, and vice versa. These words do look and sound similar when written or spoken, but they don't mean the same thing at all. Learn what you need to know to correctly use accept vs. except in your vocabulary.

accept versus except explanation accept versus except explanation

Accept Meaning and Pronunciation

The word accept (ăk-sĕpt') is a verb. This word has several different meanings, all of which involve taking or recognizing something or someone.

  • to receive or come into possession of something that has been willingly offered, given or shared (accept a gift)
  • to be admitted to a group or organization (vote to accept new members of a club)
  • to regard or view something as the way things are (accept that a relationship is over)
  • to recognize something as being correct or true (accept the truth of a statement)
  • to agree to do something (accept an offer of employment)
  • to take payment (to accept cash or credit cards)
  • to take formal receipt of something (to accept bids on request for proposal)

Except Meaning and Pronunciation

The word except (ĭk-sĕpt') is often used as a preposition. It can also be used as a conjunction. The word except has a few different definitions, all of which involve excluding or something or someone.

  • with the exclusion of (to agree to most recommendations; all except certain ones)
  • other than (to point out an exception; except for a small difference)
  • but (highlight a point of disagreement; I agree with what you said except for ...)

This word can also function as a verb. When used this way, it refers to the action of leaving out or excluding something.

Accept vs. Except Example Sentences

It's important to learn the definitions of words, but it's just as important to see real-world examples of how they can be correctly used in sentences. This can provide practical insights into how terms should really be used.

Accept in a Sentence

The sentences below illustrate correct usage of the word accept.

  • I am so pleased to accept this award.
  • I'm not sure if I can accept that what you are saying is true.
  • The committee will meet tomorrow to decide which new member applications to accept.
  • I accept the results of this election.
  • What forms of payment does your company accept?
  • Please accept my deepest condolences on your loss.

Except in a Sentence

The following sentences demonstrate proper usage of the term except.

  • Everyone except Stewart will be at the awards banquet tonight.
  • I packed everything I need this week except for a pair of yoga pants.
  • Everything on the menu sounds terrific except for the egg salad.
  • I slept late every day this week except Saturday.
  • Everyone except Susan is welcome to come over for dinner.
  • We must except anyone who has not completed ten hours of practice from the roster.

Accept and Except in One Sentence

To further illustrate how except and accept differ from one another, consider a few sentences that correctly include both terms.

  • I can accept all of what you are saying except for your assertion that there is no other choice.
  • We can accept all of the submitted applications except the ones that came in after the deadline.
  • The store can accept all forms of payment except personal checks.

Accept vs. Except Practice

To further practice your skills or to help teach others the difference between except and accept, you may want to use the sample questions below.

Practice Items: Choose Accept or Except

Review the following items and determine which word (except vs. accept) is the best fit in each sentence, then use the answer key below to check the responses.

  1. Your friend has won a prize but cannot attend the awards ceremony. She wants you to pick up the award for her. Is she asking you to accept or except the prize?
  2. You find an item that you wish to purchase on Facebook Marketplace. You want to pay with a gift card. Should you ask if the seller will accept or except this form of payment?
  3. You are interviewing for a job. The interviewer asks if you know how to use word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and database software. You have never worked with database software before Should you say you know how to use all accept or except database software?
  4. Your employer's ethics policy prohibits taking gifts from vendors A sales representative offers you tickets to a sporting event. Should you explain that you are not allowed to accept or except such items?
  5. A friend asks you if you have ever traveled by plane, train, bus, or ship. You have never been on a train. Should you say that you have used all of these accept or except a train?

Answer Key: Correct Selections

Don't peek at the answers until you've worked through the practice items on your own. Compare your responses to the correct answer below to get a sense of how well you have mastered the ability to differentiate between except and accept.

  1. accept - Your friend is asking you to accept the award on her behalf.
  2. accept - Ask the seller if he or she will accept a gift card as payment.
  3. except - Say that you know how to use all of those except for database software.
  4. accept - Explain that your company's policy does not allow you to accept sports tickets or any kind of gifts.
  5. except - Respond that you have traveled via all of those methods except for train.

Master How to Use Commonly Confused Words

When it comes to perfecting language arts skills, practice makes perfect! The more you study easily confused word pairs and practice using them correctly, the stronger your vocabulary will become. Use this commonly confused words worksheet to identify which similar words you have already mastered and which ones you might need to review. That way, you'll be able to focus your efforts on the terms that are the most challenging to you. Then, move on to exploring other similar words with an "e" or "a" at the beginning like affect vs. effect.

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