Difference Between Accept and Except (With Table)

The term ‘homophones’ means two words having similar pronunciations but different spellings and meanings. It can be tricky to differentiate the definition of such words. So, it is vital to know what each word conveys for fluency in the English language. Accept and except are an example of such words.

Accept vs Except

The main difference between Accept and Except is that ‘accept’ means to agree to something. On the other hand, ‘except’ means to exclude something. Both the words are synonymously used as ‘to receive something’ and ‘to make an exception of’ respectively. They have similar pronunciations, which makes their usage quite confusing. 

Accept can be interpreted in two ways. One is to agree on something. When one sees eye to eye with someone, they ‘accept‘ their suggestions. Another interpretation is to receive something. When one gets a gift, they ‘accept’ the offering. Both of these definitions have been in use in the English language.

Except can also be expounded in two ways. The first definition means to prohibit something. And another interpretation means to make an exception. For example, “They go to school except Sundays” is a sample of the first definition. “I would write my assignment; except I don’t know what it is” can be an example of the second definition.

Comparison Table Between Accept and Except

Parameters of ComparisonAcceptExcept
MeaningIt means to agree to something.It means to rule out something.
Alternate meaningIt also means to acquire something.It also means to make an exception for something.
TypeThe word accept is used as a verb.The word except is used as both a preposition and a conjunction.
Phonetic spellingIt is pronounced as ‘UH-ks-Ept’.It is pronounced as ‘ik-SEPT’.
OriginIt has originated from the Latin word ‘accipere’ which means ‘to take in.’It has originated from the Latin word ‘excipere’ which means ‘to take out.’

What is Accept?

The word ‘accept’ has originated from the Latin word ad-capere. ‘Ad’ means to and ‘capere’ means take, literally translating to ‘to take’. Like any other word in the English language, this too went through various transformations from ‘accipere’ to ‘acceptare’ and finally to accept.

Accept is always used as a verb. It can be interpreted in two ways. One is to consent to something like an opinion or a suggestion. The other is to obtain something like a gift or an offering.

The usage of this word can be confusing. “My boss accepted my business pitch”. This is an example of ‘accept’ as in the first definition. Any kind of consent can be referred to as ‘accepted’. On the other hand, “She accepted the gift”, is an example of the second definition.

Accept is spelled as ‘UH-ks-Ept’ in the standard form. Although, different accents may have different phonetics. This word is used mostly in a formal tone. Synonyms that can be used more informally are ‘take’, ‘get’, ‘gain’, etc.

What is Except?

The word except has intensive use in the English language. Many have trouble differentiating it with the word accept. Some also use the two terms synonymously.

Except has originated from the Latin word ‘ex-capere.’ Ex means out, and capere means to take. It translates to take out. The other form of the term used in late English is excipere.

It has a dual meaning. One is to exclude something. The other is to make an exception for someone or something. The word has been in use as a preposition and a conjunction. The former meaning indicates the word as a preposition, while the latter definition is an example of the word as a conjunction.

“Everyone knows about it except her.” Here it is used as a preposition. It is a simple sentence. On the other hand, “I would go to your house, except I don’t know where it is.” is used as a conjunction. It is, however, a complex sentence.

The phonetic spelling of except is ik-SEPT. It is a two-syllable word with emphasis on the second syllable. It is used mostly in an informal sense. Other words that can be used in place of except are disbar, other than, besides, etc.

Main Differences Between Accept and Except

  1. While Accept means to agree to something, Except denotes excluding something.
  2. Accept can also be interpreted as ‘to receive something’ and Except can also mean ‘to make an exception.’
  3. Accept has originated from the Latin word Accipere meaning ‘to take in.’ Whereas Except has also originated from a Latin word Excipere meaning ‘to take out.’ Their origin words can be considered as opposites.
  4. Accept is a verb, whereas Except is used both as a preposition and a conjunction.
  5. They vary slightly in their phonetics. The phonetics spelling of Accept is ‘UH-ks-Ept’ and that of Except is ‘ik-SEPT’. The basic difference lies within their first syllables.

Conclusion

Accept and Except is an example of a homophone. Homophones are a part of homonyms. They have indistinguishable pronunciations but vary in spellings and meanings. On the other hand, homographs have identical spelling and pronunciation but different meanings.

Due to their similar pronunciation, accept and except, are mistakenly used while speaking and writing English. The risk of using them alternatively also persists. It is also ordinary with other homophones. Hence, clarity is required to be fluent in the language.

We use Accept when we have to accord something or while receiving something. On the other hand, Except means to exclude something. Both the words have originated from Latin. They are accipere and excipere, respectively, which are complete opposites.

Both the words have a duality nature in their meanings. Accept is used as a verb in both cases. However, Except is a preposition and a conjunction.

Although sounding similar, they vary in their underlying phonetics. Some may pronounce these in the same way. But, the phonetics of Accept and Except differ in their first syllable itself. While speaking, emphasis should be on the syllables to have clarity regarding the two words.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/BF03197027
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0010027720302687