Lets say that I have three credit cards, card A, card B and card C. Which of the following is correct?

  1. How many credit cards do you have except for card A?

  2. How many credit cards do you have besides card A?

This is a silly argument with my wife, both of us are not native speakers. I think 'besides' and 'except' has something to do with facts, because I already have card A, the 1st sentence is wrong. My wife thinks 'besides' or 'except' only means to 'include' or 'exclude' from discussion, so the 1st sentence is correct.

Who is correct?

  • 2 is correct. Alternatives could be “not counting card A” “outside of card A”
    – Jim
    Apr 21, 2017 at 20:53
  • 'I have no cards except card A' would be correct, but not 'I have three cards except [for] card A' or 'How many credit cards do you have except for card A?' Apr 21, 2017 at 22:02
  • not including could substitute for "besides"
    – Xanne
    Apr 22, 2017 at 6:49

2 Answers 2


(2) For counting items, "besides" or even "excluding" are better prepositions to use.

You'd use "except" in a sentence such as "We took all the boxes except the red and green ones." -- there's no counting.

  • I agree, +1; but your answer will be strengthened with some documentation to back it up. Apr 22, 2017 at 2:28

"...in addition to...", perhaps?

How many credit cards do you have in addition to card A?

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