Using except

April 17, 2013pdf

The word except means ‘not including’. It can be used as a preposition or a conjunction. When used as a preposition, except is followed by a noun.

  • I haven’t invited anybody except Peter. (= Peter is the only person I have invited.)

Here the noun Peter acts as the object of the preposition except.

Except can also be used as a conjunction. As a conjunction, except is followed by a clause or an adverbial phrase.

  • I would like to bail him out, except I don’t have any money.

Except can also be used before a conjunction like that, when or if.

She knows nothing about him except that he is young and handsome. (= She knows nothing about him apart from the fact that he is young and handsome.)

He looks handsome except when he sleeps.

Except for

  • That was a good report except for a few spelling and grammatical mistakes.

Both except and except for can be used after words like all, every, no, anybody, nowhere, whole etc. In other cases, we use except for.

  • She ate everything on her plate except for the pickles. OR She ate everything on her plate except the pickles. (= She didn’t eat the pickles, but she ate everything else.)

Both except and except for are possible after everything.

  • I haven’t told anybody except / except for Mary. (Both except and except for are possible after anybody.)
  • Except for Mary, I haven’t invited anybody. (NOT Except Mary, I haven’t invited anybody.)
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