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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, 2012 at 9:37
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    Isn't "meaning" the same as "semantics" in this case? Oct 5, 2012 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, 2012 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, 2012 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. Oct 5, 2012 at 15:15

2 Answers 2

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  • 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? Oct 5, 2012 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, 2012 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. Oct 5, 2012 at 11:31
  • Just "except" doesn't sound right to me (in British English). I'm willing to admit I'm wrong :) Oct 5, 2012 at 12:38
  • Might be a US/UK thing, true. Oct 5, 2012 at 13:40

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