除了: Expressing Except (for) in English

Image for Language TipThis post contains a tip for English writers whose first language is Chinese. The specific topic is how to correctly express 除了 in English.

First, a quick note that I do a lot of editing for academic writers whose first language is not English–usually professors and graduate students. I have many clients and colleagues who are originally from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China (as well as many other countries around the world). So, on this blog I’ll be including tips for all writers of English (both native and nonnative).

So, back to the topic at hand. A colleague recently mentioned to me that she was taught in school to express 除了 in a way that we realized was incorrect. Here is an example of what I’m talking about.

The boy likes all fruits except (for) peaches.

First, the word for is optional and does not change the meaning of the sentence.

This means that the boy likes apples, oranges, bananas, and almost every other fruit; however, the boy does not like peaches.

My colleague mentioned that in school she remembered being taught that “except (for)” meant something like “in addition to.” This is actually not the case, so if you’ve been a little confused about this term before, I hope this post helps.

Let’s take a quick scholarly example:

All variables were included in the regression model, except for educational attainment because values were missing for more than half of the participants.

In this case, educational attainment was excluded from the analysis, and all other variables were included.

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Rocky Citro

Hi, my name is Rocky, and I am a technical academic editor with over a decade experience editing for professors and graduate students in prestigious universities. I have also taught writing at the graduate and undergraduate level and have several years' TEFL teaching experience.