1

"...what things do they provide us? For instance, a donkey looks like a horse, except only it is smaller than a horse."

As you can see, the bold part confuses me. As far as I know, except is used as conjunction with a clause, such as:

"I would like to bail him out, except I don’t have any money."

I don't know whether the bold part in the sentence I posted above is grammatically correct. Please help me!

  • 1
    Can you specify the source where you came across this? – Mamta D Nov 2 '15 at 9:03
  • Use either "except" or "only". The rest should be rewritten. – Ricky Nov 2 '15 at 9:48
  • @Mamta D: It's from a book of XACT BOOK (Indian publisher). – Sour Tofu Nov 6 '15 at 7:09
  • "except that it is" "except it is" "excepting only that it is" "only it is" all work better. – The Nate Apr 1 '16 at 7:54
  • That just looks very badly written to me. – Max Williams Jun 30 '16 at 9:23
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I'm not saying it's incorrect but it doesn't feel natural. I would use except that:

used to give a reason why something is not possible or true

[Cambridge Online Dictionary]

A donkey looks like a horse, except that it is smaller than a horse.

or simply

A donkey looks like a horse, only smaller.

0

This is archaic construction, where except may be interpreted to mean: with the exception (that). What is your source? I would avoid this type of use in modern writing, but you may still see it in older texts.

The phrase except only is decreasing in popularity; see this ngram.

  • It's from a book of XACT BOOK (Indian publisher). – Sour Tofu Nov 6 '15 at 7:10
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I searched through Corpus of Contemporary American English and found only 10 sentences. therefore, I can say it is a very rare usage.

You can use "except that", which is more common.

For instance, a donkey looks like a horse, except that it is smaller than a horse."

  • 1
    "Except that" was suggested by 0xFEE1DEAD. Can you include how many sentences you found using "except that" and show us how rare "except only" is? – user140086 Dec 27 '16 at 16:19

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