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Rated: E · Column · Educational · #2129325
Spellings of these two words are often confused and this article gives tips to remedy it
Accept is not except, except that these two very different words often have their respective spellings interchanged. I cannot accept that, except when it comes from people new to the English language. Catch the difference?

Try this memory trick: accept starts with the letter A and so does apple. Would you accept an apple from someone? Accept is to receive willingly. Apparently, doctors would not accept an apple…if the saying an apple a day keeps the doctor away is true. Is it like garlic to a vampire? Oh, wait, no, it is a health thing: an apple is nutritious, and so, if you eat an apple every day you probably reap those health benefits…unless you carry an apple around with you so you can chunk it a doctor’s head screaming, “get AWAY!” But I digress; let’s get back to the accept/except memory trick.

Except begins with the letter E as does the word egg. I know, another food item, but bear with me. There was a guy who liked to rhyme in the children’s books he wrote and one of the most famous ones is Green Eggs and Ham. So even if you love eggs and would generally accept an offer of eggs, you can remember the difference between accept and except this way: I like eggs and will generally accept any kind, except if they are green! Now I believe green eggs in the book was a metaphor for green vegetables that children often refuse to eat. I do not think Dr. Seuss was encouraging children to consume foods infected by green fungus. I hope not.

Now let us try some incorrect versus correct examples of both of these words in use.

ACCEPT
Incorrect: I just can’t except when pets are treated like people.
Correct: I just can’t accept when pets are treated like people.

EXCEPT
Incorrect: I generally dislike country music, accept for Johnny Cash tunes.
Correct: I generally dislike country music, except for Johnny Cash tunes.

Get it, now? To accept is to receive and to accept is to exclude. Let me invent another quick memory aid that doesn’t include food. Try this memory phrase:

All of us want to be accepted, but everyone hates to be an excluded exception.


See what I did there with the inclusive language of “all of us” and “everyone” and matching the first letters to the first letters of the target words? I hope that, without exception, you accepted these tips.
© Copyright 2017 Mary T (Ravalyn) (ravalyn at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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