Easily Confused Words: Accept vs. Except

Accept and except are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It’s suggesting what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions are pretty off base. They don’t help you out, but they do make you laugh.

Accept is a verb. It means to receive an object, or to agree to items or conditions offered.

It can also mean receiving information, especially negative information, and not reacting dramatically or badly to it.

Except has multiple forms.

  • As a preposition, it means a location or a position (physical or a preference) that is unlike the rest, for example: Everyone who pledged to showed up for fundraising drive except Joe. Except the vegan, everyone wanted Burger King. 
  • As a conjunction, it is used to indicate a unique stance compared to other things: I packed most all my gear except shampoo. I forgot and left in my shower, so I will have to buy some once I arrive.

The following story uses both words correctly:

 Acacia felt she could accept the job contract terms, except for the final two clauses: claiming the company could forbid her to moonlight, and the one claiming rights to any work she does while employed there. Ultimately she declined and started her own venture instead.

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