Jan 07, 2013

Grammar Hammer: Accepting the Challenge of a New Year

What is it about January that brings out the list-maker in all of us? A friend of mine took to the social media airwaves on New Year’s Day, called resolutions something I can’t repeat in polite company, and instead, suggested you pick something you want to do and make it happen in 2013. I like the premise. It saves me a lot of time from having to make pesky lists that I will lose by the end of the week.

Speaking of lists, I’ve seen a lot of them lately. They range from the top news stories (both good and bad) of 2012 to lists of buzzwords we’d like to retire in 2013 (sorry folks, I’m afraid “fiscal cliff” will be with us for a while) to lists of resolutions for writers.

Grammarly recently offered a top ten list of grammatical peeves. I think it’s a great list and I’m sure there are many others that can be added to it (I’d couple in the contraction of “should have” is not “should of” along with #4 on that list).
I’d also offer one more to add to Grammarly’s list – “accept” is a verb and “except” is a preposition.

Accept is a verb which means “to take something that is offered.” My favorite example is the Groucho Marx quote, “Please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” It can also be used to mean “to agree that something is right” (example – “The candidate’s views were not widely accepted”).

Except is most often used as a preposition, meaning “with the exclusion of.” “I bought Christmas gifts for everyone except my brother’s cousin.”

Except can be used as a conjunction, meaning “other than” or “if not for the fact that” – “I loved everything about the party except the host.”

Have a grammar rule you’d like me to explore? Drop me a line at catherine.spicer@prnewswire.com.

Author Catherine Spicer is a manager of customer content services at PR Newswire.

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