Except vs. except for

Hi teachers,

Please see the following:

Everyone was there except John.
Everyone was there except for John.

What is the difference?

Thanks in advance


I’d say there’s no difference in your sentences, Jupiter. Both would be commonly used to mean exactly the same thing. But I’d also say except for and except are NOT freely interchangeable in all sentences. So, when in doubt, use except. :wink:

Except for is also be used to mean “if it weren’t for”:
Except for that big hole in the boat, we would go sailing today.