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Writing Tip #104: Accept vs Except

Updated: Jul 10

This pair is one of several combinations that sound similar, but are often used incorrectly.

accept:

  • to take ownership of something. ‘I accept your proposal.’

except:

  • excluding, other than. ‘I want all the oranges except that bruised one.’ ‘He works every day except on Sunday.’

  • Quite frequently I see, ‘Do you except this meeting on Mary’s behalf?’ This should be accept.

Another example is:

affect:

  • (verb) to impact or change; this is an action. ‘The snow storm affected the students at the elementary school.’ The students were affected by the snow storm. Whether they couldn’t go out and make snow angels or they missed a day of school, the students felt the impact.

  • ‘The medicine will affect your eyesight for at least an hour.’ You will not see properly for an hour so your eyesight is affected by the medicine.

effect:

  • (noun) the result of a change; this is a thing. ‘The road closure was the effect of the snow storm.’ Effect relates to the road closure. The road closure is the thing that happened due to the snow storm.

  • ‘You will feel the effects of the medicine in 20 minutes.’ The effect is the thing as a result of taking the medication.

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