Accept vs. Except - Which One to Use?

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Accept vs. Except

Accept and Except may have similar phonetic attributes that make them hard to differentiate but their usage in the English language is very particular and that makes things a bit easier. Accept refers to the act of receiving and approving something and Except refers to separating something from the rest.


Accept is a verb and it means to receive something (a gift) or approve of something (a proposal). There is a slight difference between receiving and accepting where the need for approval draws the line. Acceptance entails the necessity for approval while receiving does not.

Exp. #1

  • We don’t accept unfinished business proposals.
  • We don’t except unfinished business proposals.

Exp. #2

  • Did you accept the birthday gift from your ex?
  • Did you except the birthday gift from your ex?

Exp. #3

  • Let’s not take the risk of accepting anonymously delivered goods anymore.
  • Let’s not take the risk of excepting anonymously delivered goods anymore.

Example no. 1 uses “don’t accept” to mean that the business proposal has not been given the green light so Accept here aligns with being approved. In the second and third examples, Accept works as a combination of receiving the gift with welcoming vibes.


Except is a preposition or conjunction based on where it is used and it means excluding or leaving something out. 

Exp. #1

  • They invited everyone in the area except you?
  • They invited everyone in the area accept you?

Exp. #2

  • I would have attended the meeting except the location was too far.
  • I would have attended the meeting accept the location was too far.

Exp. #3

  • Everybody was convinced except for Tom.
  • Everybody was convinced accept for Tom.

The examples show a few scenarios where Except is used to separate the exceptions from the usuals. In example number 1, “You” is singled out from everyone that is invited. The second example explains why the meeting could not be attended. “Tom” is separated from the lot in the third example as someone who isn’t convinced yet.

Difference Between Accept and Except

Accept is to receive and approve of something and Except is to single something out as an exception. Though you may not pick the minimal phonetic difference that exists in their pronunciation, you will know which one is used if you can tell their meanings and usages apart.

Comparison Table

The comparison between these two terms is demonstrated more clearly by listing the main attributes side by side in a table format. Let’s take a look-




Pronunciation (IPA)


/ɪkˈsɛpt/, /ɛkˈsɛpt/


To receive, to approve

Leaving out

Parts of Speech


Preposition, Conjunction, Verb

In Sentences

I accept your apology.

I always accept flowers except for Mondays.

When to Use Accept?

People accept letters and gifts sent to them and they accept proposals and offers when preached. In these scenarios where there is a scope to receive and approve something, Accept is used.

When to Use Except?

When talking about exceptions, people tend to feel the need to single it out with the help of the phrase “except for”. In situations where such exceptions are necessary to be singled out or the only reason behind something, Except is used in various ways in sentences as a preposition, conjunction or verb.


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