(except / apart from) football

Discussion in 'English Only' started by TommyGun, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. TommyGun Senior Member


    Are "except (for)" and "apart from" synonyms in general and in the following dialogs in particular:

    1. - What sports do you like except football?
    - I like all sports except football.

    2. - What sports do you like apart from football?
    - I like all sports apart from football.

    Are there any differences in meaning, mood or register between these dialogs?
  2. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England

    The question in 1) sounds unlikely to me: "except" doesn't seem right in this type of question. The answer in 1) seems fine.
    Both parts of 2) (question and answer) seem fine to me.
  3. TommyGun Senior Member

    Would it be better to use "except for"?

    1. - What sports do you like except for football?
    - I like all sports except football.
  4. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    I would call 'except (for)' and 'apart from' synonyms, yes. (As you can see for yourself, so does Collins Online Thesaurus.)
    Both your question-answer examples can be paraphrased as:

    Q: You like football. What other sports do you like? A: I don't like football. But I like all other sports.

    I don't see there's any difference in meaning between the phrases. As for register, I'm not sure. Because I tend to use 'apart from' in the sense of 'in addition to' I would personally not naturally say: I like all sports apart from football. Instead I would use 'except': I like all sports except football.

    (I have no idea what you mean by 'mood'.)
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2013
  5. k8an Senior Member

    Melbourne, Australia.
    English - Australian
    "1. - What sports do you like except football?"

    This sounds a bit strange to me.

    I would say "what/which sports do you like other than football?"
  6. dn88 Senior Member

    To me, "What sports do you like except football?" sounds as if the questioner were presuming that the other person didn't like football (based on no prior information), or perhaps implying: "I want to know what sports you like, but don't you dare mention football". I may be just imagining this, though.
  7. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    To me, it's completely the other way around. The sentence "What sports do you like besides/other than/apart from/except football?" presumes that the answerer does like football. (That's why the answer "I like all sports except football" => "I don't like football" doesn't make sense, as EStjarn pointed out.)

    With context, your interpretation could be correct.
  8. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    That's what all those questions mean except for the one with "except" which (agreeing with others) just sounds horribly wrong to me.
  9. TommyGun Senior Member

    Thank you very much, it helped!

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