Here is a sentence I saw using the word except:

valid claims were granted patent to land free and clear, except for a small registration fee.

What does it mean? How does the word except here related the registration fee to the previous part of the sentence.

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Andrew Leach Jul 17 '14 at 14:37

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    Many questions of this type can be answered with a dictionary. If the dictionary definition of except doesn't help, please edit the question to explain what is unclear to you. – Andrew Leach Jul 17 '14 at 14:37
  • 1
    The sentence is in legal English; the phrase granted patent to land and free and clear are fixed legal expressions. The free and clear phrase, meaning 'no payment required', is modified by the prepositional phrase except for a small registration fee. The meaning is as @Liesmith gives it. – John Lawler Jul 17 '14 at 14:40

The land is free, with the exception of a small fee you must pay. So, in this context, the land is not actually free.

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