Accept and Except

There is often confusion over the words accept and except. They sound similar, but their meanings are very different.
accept and except


To accept is a verb. It has several meanings:

To hold something as true.
  • The officer accepts your point and has decided to let you off with a caution.
  • I accept she may have been tired, but that's still no excuse.
To receive something willingly.
  • I accept this award on behalf of the whole cast.
  • Do you accept dogs in your hotel?
  • Please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member. (Groucho Marx)
To answer yes (especially to an invitation).
  • The minister would love to accept the invitation to your ball, but she has a prior engagement.


The word except is most commonly seen as a preposition. However, it can also be used a conjunction and very occasionally as a verb.

Except as a preposition means apart from, not including, or excluding.

For example:
  • I can resist everything except temptation. (Oscar Wilde)
  • I have nothing to declare except my genius. (Oscar Wilde)
  • Marge, don't discourage the boy! Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals...except the weasel. (Homer Simpson)
  • It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. (Winston Churchill)
Except as a conjunction means but or 'if not the fact that'.

For example:
  • I would go swimming, except I am scared of big fish.
Except as a verb means to exclude.

For example:
  • You are excepted from the ruling.

A Quick Test

Except = Excluding

Let the first two letters of except remind you that it means excluding.

Common Terms with Accept and Except

  • Accept a job
  • Accept a compliment
  • Accept the challenge
  • Accept the consequences
  • Except for access
  • Except for him
  • Except buses and taxis