Language tip of the week: accept vs agree

Posted by on February 06, 2014

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc.

This week’s language tip helps with the verbs accept and agree:

Don’t confuse agree and accept. When you want to say that someone expresses their willingness to do something, use agree with an infinitive. Don’t use accept:
✗ Some people readily accept to work at weekends.
✓ Some people readily agree to work at weekends.
✗ Small communities may not accept to be swallowed up by a general European system.
✓ Small communities may not agree to be swallowed up by a general European system.

You can use accept when you want to say that someone recognizes that something is true, fair, or right. It is followed by a noun phrase or a that-clause:
Our clients will never accept this proposal.
The great majority of landowners accept that they must obey the law.

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