“There is also an option for a DHL delivery service at an additional cost of £15.00 per address. This service is strongly recommended to ensure safe delivery. The University does not accept responsibility for items lost in transit.”

From https://www.cambridgestudents.cam.ac.uk/your-course/graduation-and-what-next/degree-certificates-and-transcripts/degree-certificates

Accept responsibility for:

If you accept responsibility for something that has happened, you agree

that you were to blame for it or you caused it. (Collins)


I didn’t find “take responsibility for” in dictionaries.

What is the difference between “take responsibility for” and “accept responsibility for”? Why is the Cambridge using “accept” instead of “take”?

  • 1
    While there may be subtle nuances or perhaps specific legal or technical contexts that distinguish "take responsibility for..." and "accept responsibility for...", to the great majority of people, the two mean basically the same thing--that the speaker is claiming the responsibility for whatever happened. The use of one or the other is a stylistic choice.
    – roms
    Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 14:00
  • I might see a difference between taking responsibility for completing a project (leading the task) and accepting responsibility for damage to your car when I scraped it with mine. Commented Aug 30, 2019 at 16:19

1 Answer 1


As the commenters note, the two phrases can be used interchangeably. I would suggest that one is active and one is passive. To take responsibility is to actively choose to do something. To accept responsibility is (usually) something that happens after the fact. In your example quoted, it's the opposite... the university is actively choosing to deny responsibility before the fact.

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