Using "menos" to say except

To say "except" in Spanish we can use invariable word "menos" [lit: minus/less]. It is generally followed by a noun, a pronoun, or a demonstrative but it also admits other combinations.

Have a look a these examples:

Vinieron todos a mi casa menos Cristina.
They all came to my house, except for/ apart from Cristina.

Todo estaba incluido en el precio, menos las bebidas.
Everything was included in the price, except for the drinks.

Todos los estudiantes menos yo aprobaron el examen.
All the students except me passed the exam.

Notice how in the last example, in Spanish we use the subject pronouns, unlike in English where the object pronouns are used. It would be incorrect to say  "Todos fuman menos me."

Everyone smokes except me.
Todos menos yo fuman. / Todos fuman menos yo.

Notice that the order can be altered without any change of meaning.

Excepto and Salvo

"Menos" is the most commonly used, but "excepto" or "salvo" can also be used, 

 Todos fuman excepto yo. / Todos fuman salvo yo.

Except that

However, to express "except that + sentence" we tend to use "excepto que" or "salvo que", rather than "menos que".  Have a look:

Las vacaciones han sido fabulosas, excepto que hemos tenido un poco de lluvia.
The holidays were fabulous except that we had a bit of rain.

Las vacaciones han sido fabulosas, salvo que hemos tenido un poco de lluvia.
The holidays were fabulous except that we had a bit of rain.

Las vacaciones han sido fabulosas, menos que hemos tenido un poco de lluvia.

Here are other examples:

Visité casi todas las iglesias de Sevilla, menos la catedral.
I visited nearly all churches in Seville, except for the cathedral.

Todos menos ella pasaron la prueba.
Everyone but her passed the test.

Me gustan todos menos el verde.
I like them all except for the green one.

He aprobado todo menos las matemáticas.
I passed everything apart from/except Maths.

Pasad todos menos vosotros dos.
Everyone can come in except you two.

Me encanta tomar el sol en todos lados, menos en la piscina.
I love sunbathing everywhere except at the swimming pool.

Notice in the last example, that "menos" can also be followed by a preposition (menos en la piscina).

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Visité casi todas las iglesias de Sevilla, menos la catedral.
I visited nearly all churches in Seville, except for the cathedral.


Me encanta tomar el sol en todos lados, menos en la piscina.
I love sunbathing everywhere except at the swimming pool.


Las vacaciones han sido fabulosas, excepto que hemos tenido un poco de lluvia.
The holidays were fabulous except that we had a bit of rain.


Todos los estudiantes menos yo aprobaron el examen.
All the students except me passed the exam.


Pasad todos menos vosotros dos.
Everyone can come in except you two.


Vinieron todos a mi casa menos Cristina.
They all came to my house, except for/ apart from Cristina.


Todo estaba incluido en el precio, menos las bebidas.
Everything was included in the price, except for the drinks.


He aprobado todo menos las matemáticas.
I passed everything apart from/except Maths.


Todos menos ella pasaron la prueba.
Everyone but her passed the test.


Me gustan todos menos el verde.
I like them all except for the green one.


Las vacaciones han sido fabulosas, salvo que hemos tenido un poco de lluvia.
The holidays were fabulous except that we had a bit of rain.


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