Saturday, March 28, 2015
Susan called to report a sign over the cash register in a local store. It read, We do not except personal checks. Since except means to leave out, that means that they take personal checks. Yes, I know what they meant – accept – but word choice matters.
The prefix will help distinguish which word to choose. Ex- means without or lacking. Mentally connect exclude to except. We decided to exclude Dudley from the party. Everyone except Dudley attended the party. So except signifies exclusion.
Ac- (a variation of ad-) means direction towards or attraction to. Mentally connect accept with the concept of inclusion. We will gratefully accept your gift; we will take it.
In another matter entirely, a golf announcer talked at length today about a particular hole at the Valero Texas Open. He emphasized that because of its tight and twisting layout, the hole demanded accuracy and precision. He ended with, “An exacting shot is needed from here.” I submit that from the context, he should have said exact. The situation was exacting (demanding), but the shot had to be exact (on target) to land on the green.
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