Access vs. Excess

Access vs. Excess

When two words sound similar, they are often confused and used incorrectly. Two words that are often interchanged are access and excess. These words sound the same, but are used in quite different circumstances. If you want to communicate correctly, you should take care to understand the difference.

Access can be used as a noun or a verb, and in both cases it either means "entry" or "admission" or "approach" or the "act of entering," "opening," or "gaining the use of."

Access used as a noun:

1. Jeffrey was allowed access to the teacher's lounge to deliver a message.

2. The access to the restroom was blocked for cleaning.

Access used as a verb:

1. Can you help me access the file that I need on the computer?

2. Sarah accessed the supply closet so that she could get paper and pencils.

3. You can access your seat by going up those stairs and turning left.

Excess is used as a noun or an adjective, and in both cases it refers to an overabundance. When used as a noun, excess means something that is more than enough. When used as an adjective it describes the amount of something as too much.

Excess used as a noun:

1. This month, there is an excess of kittens at the animal shelter.

2. We've had an excess of rain this week, and now the yard is flooded.

Excess used as an adjective:

1. When you are finished making the cookies, please clean up the excess flour on the counter.

2. The excess tickets to the concert were sold for a few dollars each.

3. We decided to send the excess food home with Grandpa.

Remember that access has to do with gaining entry or opening something, while excess has to do with having too much.

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