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Does the word “exempt” always work in favour of the exempted party? Can I say:

John is exempted the right of free accommodation.

If not, which word should I use in place of “exempt/ exempted”?

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  • You mean that John does not have that right any longer? Jul 7 '15 at 3:04
  • You are correct. John does not have that right (the right of enjoying free accommodation).
    – user21167
    Jul 7 '15 at 3:12
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John is exempted the right of free education.

The verb exempt means to excuse someone from doing or paying something. In this sense, it doesn't fit in the sentence. However, you can say the following:

John doesn't have/enjoy the privilege of free accommodation or simply

John doesn't have/enjoy the right of free accommodation.

I think you can also say "John isn't exempt from paying for the acommodation".

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X is exempt from Y means X is not part of the group or category Y. It does not mean have/does not have.

As right of free accommodation is a concrete "thing" and not a group/category, you should not use the term exempt to say someone does not have it/possess it.

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  • Given the existence of terms like "tax-exempt" to mean "is not taxed", I'm not sure this is entirely correct. Jul 7 '15 at 3:23
  • "Tax-exempt" means something is exempt from a group that is subject to tax.
    – LawrenceC
    Jul 7 '15 at 3:30
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    Then why is it not phrased "taxed-exempt"? And why do various dictionaries talk about "[individual] freedom from liabilities or restrictions"? I could find no source that backed up the idea that exemption has to do with groups in any particular fashion. Jul 7 '15 at 3:47
  • Checked a dictionary and you are right. :) But, in that case, a "right" is not an obligation, it is something you can choose to do or not do as you wish, so "exempt" is still a bad word to use.
    – LawrenceC
    Jul 7 '15 at 5:03
  • It certainly is a very ill-fitting word, yes. Jul 7 '15 at 5:03
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If you are exempt from something, it means you don't have to do it, but it doesn't force you to not do it.

Definition of exempt from dictionary.com:

  1. released from, or not subject to, an obligation, liability, etc.: organizations exempt from taxes.

So even if someone was exempt from something they consider good (like free accommodation in John's case), it doesn't mean they can't have it.

In your example sentence, you can use the word denied instead: "John is denied the right to free accommodation."

Definition of denied, also from dictionary.com:

  1. to withhold the possession, use, or enjoyment of: to deny access to secret information.

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