Accept vs. Except

What is the difference?

Accept and except are two commonly confused words in the English language. When do you use each one?

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses

Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All Tenses

Even though these two words are spelled differently and mean different things, they are pronounced the same.

We'll go over examples and explanations to learn the difference. Do you accept the challenge? :-)


Accept is a verb that means to take or receive something that is offered.

We can accept material or immaterial things.

For example, you can accept a gift (which is material, tangible) or a new job (which is immaterial, intangible).

This is the antonym (the opposite) of the verbs refuse or decline.


  • She accepted some new responsibilities at work.
       - Her boss offered her some new responsibilities, and she said yes.
  • Never accept a ride from a stranger!

    - If someone you don't know offers to take you somewhere in their car, you should never say yes.
  • Oh, this present is so extravagant! I just can't accept it.
        - The present is very expensive, so he feels uncomfortable taking it.
  • To accept the package, you need to sign this form.

    - A signature is required to receive the package from the delivery service.
  • The relay runner accepted the torch from the last runner.
        - The first runner passed the torch to the next runner, and he took it.



Except is a preposition that means "but not" or "other than." We use it when we want to say "everything but."

This is the antonym of including.

Look at the examples below to see how we use except.


  • The kids will eat anything except broccoli.
        - They will eat anything, but not broccoli.
  • I knew everyone at the party except the tall man in the green shirt.

    - I knew all of the people at the party other than the tall man in the green shirt.        
  • I like all sports except baseball.
        - I like all sports other than baseball.
  • We enjoy all kinds of movies, except romantic ones.
        - We enjoy all different kinds of movies, but not romantic ones.
  • She has added all the ingredients except the eggs.
        - She has added every ingredient other than the eggs.

A woman cooking

More Tips

Remember that accept is a verb, but except is an preposition.

Accept is an action word. It describes what a person does:
  • Meredith decided to accept the new cell phone plan that the company offered her. It was a good deal!

    - What did Meredith do? She took the plan offered by the cell phone company.
Except modifies (describes it or restricts the meaning of) the sentence.
  • Everyone except Oscar thought the play was excellent.

    - Everyone other than Oscar thought the play was excellent. Everyone else thought it was excellent, but Oscar did not.

We've seen that even though these words sound the same, their meaning and use are different. Now you've got it!

A happy girl

These were the differences between accept and except. Now that you understand, it's time to practice! Get our ESL Books.

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