The Farlex Grammar Book > English Spelling and Pronunciation > Common Mistakes and Commonly Confused Words > accept vs. except
accept vs. except
What is the difference between accept and except?
When properly and carefully pronounced, accept and except have slightly different pronunciations of their initial vowels: accept is pronounced /ækˈsɛpt/, while except is pronounced /ɪkˈsɛpt/.
In casual speech, though, the initial a- and e- get reduced to the unstressed speech sound schwa (/ə/), and both words are pronounced the same way: /əkˈsɛpt/. Because of this blending of pronunciations, the two words can sometimes be confused in writing.
Accept is a verb broadly meaning “to receive or take,” “to give an affirmative or approving answer,” or “to understand or regard as true, proper, correct, or normal.” For example:
- “Please accept my apologies for not writing back sooner.”
- “We’re pleased to accept your invitation to dinner.”
- “You shouldn’t just accept that what someone tells you is the truth.”
Except can also function as a verb, but it is much more common as a preposition or a conjunction (meaning “other than; excluding; apart from”). For example:
- “Everyone except Janet came to the movie.” (preposition)
- “I would like a bit of everything except the broccoli, please.” (preposition)
- “He had every reason for wanting to become a doctor, except that the tuition fees were so high.” (conjunction)
- “Samantha never says a word in class, except when she’s causing a disruption.” (conjunction)
As a verb, except means “to leave out, exclude, or omit,” as in:
- “He was excepted from the requirement due to his trouble walking.”
However, this use as a verb is rather uncommon in everyday speech and writing. Most of the time, if you are describing the action of a verb, accept is almost certain to be the correct choice.
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