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  1. roseriver1012's Avatar
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    #1

    Question Is there a difference between "except sth" and "except for sth"?

    I learned that there is a difference between "except sth" and "except for sth", ie. when you talk about two subjects of the same type, you use "except sth", while when you talk about the subjects of different types, you use "except for sth". But when I refer to the dictionary, I find no difference is presented. Then is there a differenc or not between them?

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Is there a difference between "except sth" and "except for sth"?

    They are the same thing. Using "for" is a bit more American, a bit more informal, and a bit less stylish.

  3. roseriver1012's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Is there a difference between "except sth" and "except for sth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    They are the same thing. Using "for" is a bit more American, a bit more informal, and a bit less stylish.

    So I can safely say the following sentences, right?
    The square was empty except for/except the giant horse.
    Everyone agrees except/except for Tom.

    p.s. Your avatar really surprised me. At the first sight, I thought you came from China.
    Last edited by roseriver1012; 29-Dec-2011 at 01:59.

  4. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Is there a difference between "except sth" and "except for sth"?

    That's almost true. "For" is a preposition, and signifies intention, or belonging, or cause.

    When you need a cause, you should include "for", as is the case when there is a very simple and not very descriptive verb, such as "to be."

    So, in the first sentence, about the square being empty, I prefer "except for" because it means "except" and also "because of" (one of the meanings of "for.")

  5. roseriver1012's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Is there a difference between "except sth" and "except for sth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    That's almost true. "For" is a preposition, and signifies intention, or belonging, or cause.

    When you need a cause, you should include "for", as is the case when there is a very simple and not very descriptive verb, such as "to be."

    So, in the first sentence, about the square being empty, I prefer "except for" because it means "except" and also "because of" (one of the meanings of "for.")

    You mean in this sentence, "for"serves sligtly as "because of"? I don't understand!
    What about this sentence: He had nothing on except for his socks.
    Does "for" play a part in the meaning of the sentence? Can I just use "except" in it?
    And what about the one I've given: Everyone agrees except Tom. Can I use "except for" in it?

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    #6

    Re: Is there a difference between "except sth" and "except for sth"?

    As similar as the two may be semantically, there is a significant syntactic difference: 'except' occurs only as an adnominal (or 'adjectival') postmodifier, as in

    Nobody except John would have known this.

    in which 'except John' modifies the pronoun 'nobody', while an 'except for' phrase stands most typically at either the beginning or the end of the sentence, as in

    Except for John, all the students achieved a high test score.
    All the students achieved a high test score, except for John.

    (both rephrasable to: All the students except John achieved a high test score.)

    It is, however, relatively rare for 'except for' to be substituted for 'except' as a direct postmodifier. Thus many users would probably not accept

    ?Nobody except for John would have known this.
    Last edited by philo2009; 29-Dec-2011 at 02:24.

  6. roseriver1012's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Is there a difference between "except sth" and "except for sth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    As similar as the two may be semantically, there is a significant syntactic difference: 'except' occurs only as an adnominal (or 'adjectival') postmodifier, as in

    Nobody except John would have known this.

    in which 'except John' modifies the pronoun 'nobody', while an 'except for' phrase stands most typically at either the beginning or the end of the sentence, as in

    Except for John, all the students achieved a high test score.
    All the students achieved a high test score, except for John.

    (both rephrasable to: All the students except John achieved a high test score.)

    It is, however, relatively rare for 'except for' to be substituted for 'except' as a direct postmodifier. Thus many users would probably not accept

    ?Nobody except for John would have known this.
    It seems that you explain the difference from another viewpoint.

    Then can I say the following?

    "All the students achieved a high test score except John."
    "The square was empty except the giant horse."

    Thanks for your reply.

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Is there a difference between "except sth" and "except for sth"?

    "All the students achieved a high test score, except for John."

    And note also, the further variants:
    "All the students, John excepted, ..."
    "All the students, excepting John, ... "
    "All the students, with the exception of John, ... "

    and a variant which I would call non-standard:
    "All the students, excepting for John, ... "

  8. Raymott's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Is there a difference between "except sth" and "except for sth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by roseriver1012 View Post
    It seems that you explain the difference from another viewpoint.

    Then can I say the following?

    "All the students achieved a high test score except John." Yes.
    "The square was empty except the giant horse." No, something is missing here.
    (All least that's the way I use them)
    Thanks for your reply.
    You can say, subsequent to my above post:
    "Excepting the giant horse, the square was empty." or "The giant horse excepted, the square was empty."
    That is, "If you are willing to except the giant horse, we can agree that the square is empty."

    PS: Note to learners who are trying to follow: Don't confuse "except" with "accept". No one is talking about "accepting the horse".

  9. roseriver1012's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Is there a difference between "except sth" and "except for sth"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You can say, subsequent to my above post:
    "Excepting the giant horse, the square was empty." or "The giant horse excepted, the square was empty."
    That is, "If you are willing to except the giant horse, we can agree that the square is empty."

    PS: Note to learners who are trying to follow: Don't confuse "except" with "accept". No one is talking about "accepting the horse".
    Can you give me a pattern of using "except for" instead of "except"?

    Like the following: He had nothing on except for his socks.

    She felt fine except for being a little tired.

    "except" can't take the place here?

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