Example with a context:

Earlier this evening, I sat in the Salt Lake Roasting Company, a gourmet coffee roaster in Salt Lake City, and, over several cups of hot, fresh, delightfully aromatic Costa Rican coffee, scribbled the notes for this introduction. It occurred to me that selecting an Access development book is much like choosing your next pound of coffee beans: Without some sort of guide, one Access book looks pretty much like the next save for differences in their tables of contents and covers, just as two pounds of coffee from different regions of the world seem indistinguishable but for slight variations in their aroma and appearance. This book is different from the typical Access books sitting right next to it on the bookshelf. Some of the reasons are:

How do you understand that expression? Does that mean something like never mind their differences in the tables of contents and covers?

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2 Answers 2


Save for means the same as except for.

In this sense of save for, the word save suggests holding some items back, or setting some items aside so they don’t get involved in some activity. “I brought all of my best silverware to Karen’s Christmas party, save for a few delicate antiques.” In other words, you protected the old, delicate pieces of silverware by keeping them at home instead of bringing them to the party. A real example: “The fight went on until the whole Turkish squadron, save for the steamer, was destroyed.”

In the paragraph you quoted, the author is suggesting that as you look over the many books about Microsoft Access, their attributes blur together in your mind so you can't distinguish one book from another. But a few attributes are “saved” from getting blurred together: the tables of contents and the covers.

The metaphor of saving is mostly but not completely dead.

To my native American English ear, save for sounds old-fashioned.

  • I see it in legal writing and pleadings, which tend to be archaising. I'd avoid it in my own drafting for that reason. Mar 1, 2015 at 20:25

It means they seem much alike except when one ist looking at the table of content and cover.

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