Thursday, December 13, 2012

Do You Accept, or Do You Except?

A reader has asked me to write about the confusion between the words accept and except. This is a little tough for me. It's not like explaining affect and effect which actually are related in meaning. Accept and except sound similar, but they have nothing else in common. However, since I love and adore my readers, and since it's Christmas time, I'll give it my best shot.


Let's start with accept. It's a verb, something you do. When someone offers you something, you can accept it or refuse it. 

I'd be happy to accept a lot of things.

I'd be happy to accept a box of chocolates!

I would gladly accept a little help with the housework. Or a lot of help.
If you're in a buying mood, I'd certainly accept these cute shoes!


Except, on the other hand, is used to exclude something. Perhaps you can use the similarity in spelling except and exclude to help you remember that. "Everyone except The Hillbilly takes their shoes off at the beach."

I'd accept any of the chocolates except the coconut ones!

I'd be happy to accept any maid service except these three. They scare me.
I'd accept shoes except these. Maybe you like them,  but not me. They make me shudder.

So that about covers it. There's nothing left to do except to accept comments. Let me know how clear this is or isn't. What else can I explain to you?