besides vs. except

Lets say that I have three credit cards, card A, card B and card C. Which of the following is correct?

  1. How many credit cards do you have except for card A?

  2. How many credit cards do you have besides card A?

This is a silly argument with my wife, both of us are not native speakers. I think ‘besides’ and ‘except’ has something to do with facts, because I already have card A, the 1st sentence is wrong. My wife thinks ‘besides’ or ‘except’ only means to ‘include’ or ‘exclude’ from discussion, so the 1st sentence is correct.

Who is correct?

Answer

(2) For counting items, “besides” or even “excluding” are better prepositions to use.

You’d use “except” in a sentence such as “We took all the boxes except the red and green ones.” — there’s no counting.

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