except/except for

General_Ricardo   Saturday, July 03, 2004, 22:45 GMT
When to use each one of em?
Mi5 Mick   Monday, July 05, 2004, 08:30 GMT
I see no difference between the two
Tom   Monday, July 05, 2004, 12:38 GMT
Quoting Swan's "Practical English Usage":

We use except (for) after general statements, especially after generalising words like all, every, no, everything, anybody, nowhere, whole, etc.

He ate everything on his plate except (for) the beans.
He ate the whole meal, except (for) the beans.

In other cases we usually use "except for", not "except". Compare:
- I've cleaned all the rooms except (for) the bathroom.
(Except is possible after "all".)
- I've cleaned the house except for the bathroom.
(NOT ... except the bathroom.)

- Nobody came except (for) John and Mary. (after "nobody")
- Except for John and Mary, nobody came. (before "nobody")

- You couldn't hear anything except (for) the noise of Louise typing.
- The house was quiet except for the noise of Louise typing.

We use "except", not "except for", before prepositions and conjunctions.

It's the same everywhere except in Scotland.
(NOT ... except for in Scotland.)

He's good-looking except when he smiles.
Mi5 Mick   Monday, July 05, 2004, 13:05 GMT
There's one other that comes to mind: "except that". I don't know how it would fit into the "textbook" scheme of things but here's an example:

"I have nothing more to say, except that I have to leave soon"
"I would race against him except that my leg hasn't fully recovered"
General_Ricardo   Monday, July 05, 2004, 17:11 GMT
thx guys.
BTW Tom, how would someone be good-looking except when he smiles? lol I liked that one
John   Monday, July 05, 2004, 17:41 GMT
Maybe he has bad teeth, or, if from Appalachia, none at all. :-)
Mi5 Mick   Tuesday, July 06, 2004, 09:47 GMT
Hehe...that reminds me of that Simpsons episode with the "The Big Book of British Smiles".

So all of the guests on Jerry Springer must have dentures?