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Should I Use Accept or Except? A Closer Look

Quick Answers

Accept: A verb that means "to receive."

Except: A preposition that means "excluding" or a conjunction that means "only"/"with exception."

Example: Phoebe was happy to "accept" the gifts, "except" for the one from Alex.

A Closer Look

If you have ever been unsure about whether to use accept or except when writing a sentence, it is completely understandable. After all, both "accept" and "except" are derived from the Latin word "capere," which means "to take." However, the two words' meanings are almost opposite.

Let's look at how to properly use these terms.

When to Use "Accept"

One of the easiest ways to tell the difference between "accept" and "except" is to remember that "accept" can only be used as a verb. There are two possible meanings for "accept":

  1. To willingly receive something offered.
    • He "accepted" the handkerchief as a token of thanks.
  2. To agree or hold something as true.
    • Most people "accept" the fact that driving under the influence is dangerous.

When to Use "Except"

"Except" can be used as a preposition, conjunction, and—occasionally—a verb. As a preposition, "except" means "apart from" and can be used in place of "but."

  • Janet loves all genres of music "except" ska.

As a conjunction, "except" means "if not for the fact that ___" and can be used in place of "only."

  • I would buy a ticket to see the new Anna Biller movie, "except" I don't have enough money.

On the rare occasion that "except" is used as a verb, it means "to exclude."

  • Because Ophelia had a broken arm, she was "excepted" from participating in gym.

Always Use "Accept" vs. "Except" Correctly

While both words originate from "capere," their differences come from the Latin prefixes assigned to them. "Accept" comes from "accipere," which uses the prefix "ad-" ("to"), while "except" comes from "excipire," which uses the prefix "ex-" ("out of").

If you still feel that you are unsure of when to use accept or except, you can always submit your writing to Scribendi for editing and proofreading. By accepting our services, you can be sure that your writing will be exceptional!

Otherwise, if you want to learn about other commonly confused words, check out "Lay vs. Lie," "Who vs. Whom," and "Brake vs. Break." Happy reading!