Used as a preposition, it leaves someone or something out
- Put a big “X” over what follows
- Everyone was happy before Christmas except Scrooge.
- All the yards were green except mine.
- In the situation “all/everyone/everything/etc. … except …,” the “except” means “not all” because someone or something is left out.
Used as a conjunction, it combines two independent clauses.
Neither CMOS nor AP gave a rule for a comma before “except.” However, CMOS used it in sentences with no comma. AP used it both ways. I checked several dictionary sites and found mostly sentence examples that did not use commas.
Because it is not a FANBOYS, it should follow the rule for no comma.
- He would cross the rocks with the others except he was barefoot.
Use as a verb is not common.
- The grandfather clause excepted (excluded) wells over 50 years old.
- Using “excluded” eliminates the possibility of misunderstanding which verb is intended as the pronunciations are similar.
- a verb, the action of receiving
- its noun is “acceptance”
- On bended knee, the young man asked her, “Will you accept my proposal and my ring?”
- Eyes twinkling, she replied, “Yes, if you will accept me as I am.”
- The cows were all black and white except the new one, who was brown and white.
- (“except” [preposition] notices the different in color)
- Since cows are supposed to be color blind, they accepted her as an equal.
- (“accepted” [verb] = took her as a friend like the others)
- All the players on the team were boys except for the kicker, a girl.
- (“except” [preposition] tells us that “all” is not the case)
- When she kicked the winning field goal, even the reluctant boys accepted her.
- (“accepted” [verb] = considered her to be one of them)
Credits: Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel, Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash