Difference between Accept and Except

Published on December 2, 2016

Accept and except are two of the most confused words in the English language. They sound similar to some people (although they should be pronounced differently), and when it comes to spelling, they only differ in their first two letters. This article explains the meanings of the two terms and why they are not interchangeable.

Definitions

Accept vs Except
“Accept” is a verb, while “except” is more commonly used as a preposition

Accept is pronounced as /ak·sept/. It is a verb which means:

  1. To receive or to take something willingly; for example: I accepted Mrs. Mosby’s job offer this morning.
  2. To acknowledge or to submit to; for example: After years of convincing my husband, he finally accepted the fact that he needs to get a job abroad for us to be financially stable. 
  3. To say yes to an invitation. For example: Shelly really likes Tom, so when he asked her out on a date, she accepted without hesitation.

Except is pronounced /ik·sept/. It is used as a preposition and  a verb. It means:

  1. Not including; for example: He liked everyone in his class except his Computer 101 teacher.
  2. To exclude; for example: Height excepted, the models from yesterday’s fashion show really looked alike.

Accept vs Except

What, then, is the difference between accept and except? First of all, it is very important to note that the two are pronounced differently. Accept is read as /ak·sept/ while except  is read as /ik·sept/.

Also, the two terms have different meanings and should not be used interchangeably. “Accept” is a verb which means: to receive or take an offer willingly; to acknowledge; or to say yes to an invitation.  Except, on the contrary, is: a verb which means to exclude; or a preposition which means not including.

When confused, an easy trick to remember is that when you do not want to include something, you mark it with an X, therefore it should be “except” and not “accept.” Except is also rarely used as a verb, so if you are confused which one to use as a verb, you are probably looking for “accept.”

Comparison Chart

Accept Except
Pronounced as /ak·sept/ Pronounced as /ik·sept/
Used as a verb Used as a verb and a preposition
Means to take or receive, to acknowledge, or to say yes to an invitation Means not including or to exclude