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Do the following phrases have the same meaning or are there differences?

  • Fortunately, apart from a broken toe, she was not badly hurt after the car accident.
  • Fortunately, except for a broken toe, she was not badly hurt after the car accident.
  • Fortunately, other than a broken toe, she was not badly hurt after the car accident.
  • Fortunately, besides a broken toe, she was not badly hurt after the car accident.
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If anything, I think this is just a matter of semantics. They all mean the same thing; she has a broken toe, but isn't badly hurt. –  Souta Oct 5 '12 at 9:37
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Isn't "meaning" the same as "semantics" in this case? –  moose Oct 5 '12 at 9:49
    
As @Souta said, in the end it's the same. Compared to your native language: Abgesehen von, Ausgenommen, bis auf, Mit Ausnahme von. Do you see any differences? –  Em1 Oct 5 '12 at 9:54
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@Souta :) if its 'just a matter of semantics', they all cannot mean the same thing. You need to make up your mind on that one. –  Kris Oct 5 '12 at 11:09
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Slightly-elliptical sentences like the examples might be spoken, but in writing a verb form is likely to appear before a broken toe. Eg: “Except for suffering a broken toe, she was not badly hurt.” The lack of verb forms before a broken toe in the examples makes them all sound slightly wrong. –  jwpat7 Oct 5 '12 at 15:15
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2 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted
  • Fortunately, apart from a broken toe, she was not badly hurt after the car accident.
    -- while apart itself is acceptable, it is awkward in this particular example.
  • Fortunately, except (for) a broken toe, she was not badly hurt after the car accident.
    -- best option that conveys the meaning appropriately in the context.
  • Fortunately, other than a broken toe, she was not badly hurt after the car accident.
    -- fine; can be an alternative to except, which is the right word in this case.
  • Fortunately, besides a broken toe, she was not badly hurt after the car accident.
    -- inappropriate: avoid besides when showing an exception.
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Your answer is interesting, as I've asked the question because it was in an english test where you had this sentence with the "from" and you should fill in one of the words (apart, except, other, besides). So, because of the "from" apart was the correct answer. Are you a native english speaker? –  moose Oct 5 '12 at 15:00
    
@moose Well, in that case, the idea of the question was one of collocation -- apart from, except for, other than, besides (none). –  Kris Oct 6 '12 at 5:26
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Should be "except for" in the second example. I think that in this case they all basically have the same meaning. I'd prefer the first three as they more strongly indicate that "a broken toe" is different to "not being hurt".

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Both "except" and "except for" are, um, acceptable. –  Mark Beadles Oct 5 '12 at 11:31
    
Just "except" doesn't sound right to me (in British English). I'm willing to admit I'm wrong :) –  benshepherd Oct 5 '12 at 12:38
    
Might be a US/UK thing, true. –  Mark Beadles Oct 5 '12 at 13:40
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