Except, expect and accept
These words are often confused.
Except is a preposition. It should be followed by a noun which acts as its object.
- Everybody came except John.
Here the noun John acts as the object of the preposition except. Except shows the relationship between ‘everybody’ and ‘John’.
Expect is a verb
- I expected him to call but he didn’t.
- We expect her to win the first prize.
Accept is also a verb.
- She accepted the invitation.
Past and passed
Past can be used as a preposition, but passed cannot be used like this.
- I walked past the school.
- It is past your bedtime.
Past can also be used as an adverb. In this case, it is not followed by a noun.
- A policeman walked past.
Passed is a verb. It refers to the action of passing.
- She has passed the test.
Note that the word past usually refers to time or distance.
Into and Onto
The word into is a preposition. It is usually written as one word.
- King Midas turned everything he touched into gold.
- When she kissed the frog it turned into a handsome prince.
Sometimes the words in and to appear next to each other in a sentence. In this case, they should be written as two words.
- The minister himself stepped in to avert a PR crisis. (NOT The minister himself stepped into ….)
Onto is a preposition.
- He threw the hat onto the roof.
The difference between into and onto is similar to the difference between in and on.