2

In a sentence listing a number of exceptions, do we still use 'with the exception of'?

Lake Champlain furnishes the only commercial fishing grounds in Vermont, with the exceptions of small catches of white fish in Lake Bomoseen, Lake St Catherine in Rutland county and Lake Memphremagog (from link).

With the exceptions of Queen Victoria, Edith Cavell and Boudicea, are there any public statues of women in London? (article from The Guardian)

I did find a discussion on this topic. One commentor has has said 'Here are two examples from MWDEU, which says 'with the exception of' is commonly used as a synonym for 'except (for)':

with the exception of British Guiana and the Virgin Islands.

... with the exception of cases of deliberate, premeditated theft

I was unable to view the exact page on MWDEU to do further research on this. But a quick Google search showed me that the other usage is not uncommon.

I have never seen the usage of 'with the exceptions of' before this. Are both these usages applicable? Thanks in advance.

2
  • 1
    Yes, perfectly fine and in fairly common use. Jul 17 '17 at 5:51
  • 1
    If you have never encountered "with the exceptions of", you have not read widely. That a silly mistake is common does not make it less silly, nor less easily avoided. There is no reason to intentionally introduce disagreement in number. If you can avoid doing so, you should. Use exceptions when there are more than one, and exception when there is one only. Jul 17 '17 at 5:57
2

I have never seen the usage of 'with the exceptions of' before this.

I agree with you. My Oxford dictionary says "with the exception of". Unfortunately, Guardian is notorious for their typo.

3
  • I checked Google Books, which initially claimed "about 2,050 results" for the sequence with the exception of john and, compared to just 7 for the explicitly pluralised with the exceptions of john and. On scrolling through the results, I discover there are actually only 19 hits for the former. So it's not exactly a slam dunk, but clearly most of us see with the exception of as a fixed phrase not to be messed about with. Jul 17 '17 at 14:08
  • Since the usage of ‘with the exceptions of’ seems to be quite common (even though some dictionaries use the singular version) and as @P.E.Dant said, we should not introduce unnecessary confusion about the numbers, I think I will choose to use the plural form, when there are multiple exceptions.
    – MiaC
    Jul 19 '17 at 6:11
  • Then ask Oxford "Why you don't say 'exceptions' in your dictionary?" Jul 19 '17 at 23:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.