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I guess this might have been asked before, but I want to know which is correct in the following context. I'm sorry that my English might not be as good as yours, I'm not a native English speaker and rarely use the language.

I ordered personal license plates for my car. The plates have the text "Nevr2L8" (Never too Late). Shortly after recieving them, I ordered new frames with the text "Except on Mondays". I picked up the frames today, went inside my house to fit the new plates and thought... holy mother... isn't it except for?

So which is correct:

I'm never too late, except on Mondays.

or

I'm never too late, except for Mondays.

I don't want to drive around in a nice car looking (thinking of looking) stupid.

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  • Related - english.stackexchange.com/questions/104632/…
    – BiscuitBoy
    Dec 30, 2015 at 10:08
  • Hello, T. There's a big difference between 'except on Mondays' and 'except on being late'. You need to (2) adjust your title, (1) look for and post evidence of these usages. BiscuitBoy uses one of the resources that should be examined before posting a question. Dec 30, 2015 at 11:15

2 Answers 2

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The idiom "never too late" carries the idea that even though you might think that too much time has passed for something to be worth doing, it's still worth doing. E.g. "It's never too late to change old habits" (at brainyquote.com, in the box with the name Florence Griffith Joyner).

So "Never too late ... except on Mondays" carries the idea that you're an optimist everyday except Mondays.

On the other hand, "Never too late ... except for Mondays" is a little ambiguous. It could have the same meaning as the "... on ..." version, but it could also mean that you are an optimist about everything else, but you're a pessimist about Mondays. The first is about things done on Mondays, the second is about the day itself.

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Ngram seems to favor "except on Mondays" and so do I.

Think of it this way,

I am never too late. But (used instead of except) on Mondays, I am late.

Therefore, the preposition "on" is correct.

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    This is an incorrect analysis, as 'except for' is a compound preposition with the meaning 'with the exception of' as shown at M-W. The second preposition 'on' may often be deleted in a temporal expression, and especially when following another preposition: 'I work [on] Tuesdays' // we were too busy except for Tuesday and Wednesday'. Dec 30, 2015 at 11:44
  • Do you suggest that "Except for Mondays" could be a right usage in this context? Simply put, "on Mondays" sounds more proper than "for Mondays". I just split the sentence to explain things better. Can you please suggest an edits to(or edit it yourself) my answer?
    – BiscuitBoy
    Dec 30, 2015 at 12:06
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    You need to distinguish apparently identical, but actually different, structures. I'm always in the office, {except} {[on] Mondays}. // I'm always in the office, {except for} [on] Mondays. Either 'for' or 'on' (or both) may be deleted, but their associations ({except for} and {on Mondays}) are/were different. // I'd agree that 'I'm never too late, except on Mondays.' is the better-sounding choice. Dec 30, 2015 at 12:46
  • 'On' and 'for' are both dummy prepositions when applied to an abstract topic like time. You could black out the preposition on the frame and just say 'except Mondays'. ('On' is the accepted idiom [for, of, with...] weekdays, and 'for' is an accepted idiom with 'except'. The nuance of 'for' a duration doesn't apply here.
    – AmI
    Jan 6, 2016 at 22:50

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