except / except for when do I need to use 'except' and when 'except for'? Can you please make some examples or explain the contexts of these two usages.
Jan 19, 2017 12:33 PM
Answers · 7
'Except' is a preposition and it means excluding/but. It introduces the only thing or person that a statement does not apply to e.g. They were all there except me; They were all there but me; They were all there excluding me. 'Except for' is an idiom and it implies: "if it were not for". It states a fact that prevents a statement from being completely true. e.g. Except for the weather, everything is well.
January 19, 2017
This is a tricky one. It's kind of nuanced. I think in most scenarios you can get away with either. I can't really verify this, but I think "except for" becomes more useful if you're referring to a noun that is the exception. "I like every animal except for dolphins" is correct but so is "I like every animal except dolphins" However, if you're trying to make an exception for a scenario or a non-object ... "Today we will be fine except in the event that we run out of icecream" works and "Today we will be fine except for in the event that we run out of icecream" Seems a little unnecessary. But this probably isn't a great example. Using "Unless" is probably more helpful to start a sentence like that In any case "Except for" is certainly more formal.
January 19, 2017
There is generally no difference in meaning. Consider the following signs that you may see in England: "No dogs except assistance dogs" = "No dogs except for assistance dogs" = the meanings are the same, both signs sound fine. "No stopping except for vehicles making deliveries." This sounds fine. "No stopping except vehicles making deliveries," does not read as well, in my opinion. Some other sentences: "I will invite everyone to my party except Andrew." = "I will invite everyone to my party except for Andrew." Both sentences sound fine. "I like everyone in the group except Tom," = "I like everyone in the group except for Tom." Edited to add that Woody's example, below re: a scenario is true - "except for," does not work in that sentence. However, I would suggest that you would be far better of using the word "unless," in this sentence than you would "except in the event that..." Generally, it is better to use one word rather than 5, so "Today will be fine unless we run out of ice-cream." However, Andres is right that, at the start of a sentence, only "except for," works.
January 19, 2017
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