accept vs except

Homophones: accept vs except.

The English language is fraught with sound-alike words that look nothing alike on the page (or screen). These homophones have given many writers headaches as they agonize over word choice while composing poems, articles, essays, and stories.

Accept vs. except is one such pair of words. Though not among the most commonly confused homophones, these two words do occasionally find themselves getting mixed up and used incorrectly.

Here’s a quick way to remember the difference between accept vs. except.


Accept means to take or receive, agree or consent, undertake responsibility, or reconcile oneself to something. In a sense, it means to acknowledge. You can’t accept something without acknowledging it, except in some very far-out circumstances. Since both words start with ac, it should be easy to remember that if acknowledgment is involved, then accept belongs in your sentence.

Which sentence below is correct?

I accept your proposal.

I except your proposal.

Is the proposal acknowledged? Then choose accept.


You know what’s special? The letter x. It’s special because it’s so rarely used. Wouldn’t you agree? We could almost say that the letter x is an exceptional letter. Remember this letter and these words together: x, exceptional, except. Because except always indicates something that is special or different from the others. It means with the exclusion of, with exception, or otherwise. It marks something as unique.

Which sentence below is correct?

Everyone accept me had read the book.

Everyone except me had read the book.

Does the sentence indicate something or someone unique, like one person who didn’t do something that everyone else did? Mark it with an x and use except.

Accept vs. Except (and Other Homophones)

What other homophones can you come up with besides accept and except? Are there any that you find especially perplexing? Share them in the comments!

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