Two original meanings of the sentence are usually cited. The first, favoured by Fowler, is that the presence of an exception applicable to a particular case establishes (“proves”) the existence of a general rule. A more explicit expression could be “the exception that proves the existence of the rule”.  Most contemporary uses of the term come from this origin, although often in a way that comes close to the idea that all rules have their exceptions.  The alternative origin is that the word “prove” is used in the archaic sense of “test”.  In this sense, the expression does not mean that an exception shows that a rule is true or exists, but that it verifies the rule and thus proves its value. There is little evidence that the term is used in this second way.    This sentence has its origin in a Latin legal principle that states: “The exception confirms the rule in cases that are not exempted.” In other words, if there is an exception to a rule, we know that there must be a rule from which it is an exception (even if that rule is not explicit). The Oxford English Dictionary takes this meaning in its entry for the word exception, citing the example of Benjamin Jowett`s 1855 book Essays, in which he writes: “We can exclude a solitary instance (an exception that superbly confirms the rule).” Here, the existence of an exception seems to reinforce the belief in the prevalence of the rule.  Unfortunately, this does not make sense, as it is a direct contradiction. For example, back to the world where “everyone loves pudding” is a rule.
If an exception could “confirm” this, we would have to treat someone who hates pudding as “proof” that our original rule was true. And this is clearly absurd and unfair to people who don`t like pudding. “The exception that proves the rule” is based on the Latin expression “exceptio probat regulam”, a legal principle that can be used to argue that when exceptions are made under certain conditions, it must mean that there is a rule that applies when those conditions are not in force. If in a concrete square in a school it says the following: Fowler calls this use “absurd joke”. He introduces exchange: “If there is one virtue I can claim, it is punctuality. “Were you in time for breakfast this morning? “Well, well, the exception that confirms the rule.  In this case, the speakers are aware that the sentence does not apply correctly, but refer to it ironically. Fowler`s typology of uses ranges from what he considers an “original and simple use” to what he considers both “the most offensive” and the “unfortunately the most common”.  Fowler, who followed a prescriptive approach, understood this typology as a transition from more correct to less correct use.  However, in a more descriptive approach, such distinctions in terms of accuracy would be less useful.  Special leave is granted to men.m to leave the barracks before 23:00.m tonight; “The exception proves the rule” means that this special leave implies a rule that men, unless an exception is made, must be earlier. The value of this in the interpretation of laws is obvious.
That`s the meaning we use when we say things like, “I usually bring my lunch from home.” This is not an explanation that I have a strict policy of never buying lunch at work. It just says what I usually do. From something that happens “as a general rule,” it is assumed that there are occasional exceptions. An exception to a rule is a counterexample, and usually a counterexample is proof that a rule is not a rule at all. If I want to prove that teenagers are naturally unable to clean their room, and I find someone who likes to clean their room and does it diligently every day, my case is not helped at all, but damaged. The exception is the evidence against my rule. In other words, in this sense of the word, the exception proves that the rule exists on other occasions.  This meaning of the term, outside a legal framework, may describe conclusions drawn from signs, statements or other information. For example, in one store, the conclusion would be drawn from a sign that says “Prepaid delivery required for refrigerators” that prepaid delivery is not required for other items.  In this case, the refrigerator exception proves the existence of a rule that no prepaid delivery is required.
“The exception that proves the rule” is a proverb whose meaning is disputed. Henry Watson Fowler`s use of modern English identifies five ways in which the term has been used, and each use refers to the role of a particular case or event in relation to a more general rule. “No skateboarding when the school is in session”, you can conclude that you can skateboard at other times. The rule that proves the exception is that skateboarding is generally allowed. If it were not a rule, why should exceptions be made? Why not just say “No skateboarding”? Most sorority girls I know are really boring, but Michelle is the exception to the rule. The old Latin legal principles are no longer so popular. As a result, the phrase “the exception that confirms the rule” has taken on a new meaning. Nowadays, this usually means the exception that tests the rule. You should avoid this use in formal writing as it is based on confusion.
But people will know what you mean when you use the “rule confirms exception” in the conversation in this way. When the phrase is used in this way, it`s a form of saying, “Look, here`s something remarkable!” He says that there is a general rule: that teenagers do not clean their rooms – and one exception that is not suitable: the child who likes to clean his room. But that says nothing about one proving the other. How did this sentence come about? It is believed that this meaning of the sentence, which for Fowler is the original and clearest meaning, emerged from the legal expression “exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis”, an argument attributed to Cicero in his defense by Lucius Cornelius Balbus.   This argument states that if an exception exists or is to be specified, then that exception proves that there must be a rule from which the case is an exception.  The second part of Cicero`s sentence, “in casibus non exceptis” or “in cases that are not excluded,” is almost always absent from modern usage of the statement that “the exception proves the rule.” For example, if you see a sign that says “Do not eat or drink at the library,” you can deduce that eating and drinking is allowed in other places. The exception (i.e., “Do not eat or drink in the library”) therefore proves that another rule must exist (i.e. “Eating and drinking is allowed outside the library”).
This is the original use of the term and still the “right” use for many passionate pedants. But that`s not what most people now mean by “the exception that confirms the rule.” Read on to learn more. An exception is something that is omitted or intentionally not done. An exception to a rule does not follow that rule. “The exception that proves the rule” is a commonly misused expression in English. But it`s also the one most people`ve heard, so let`s clarify how an exception can prove a rule. This word is used for all sorts of things that are not common or usually allowed. The proverb “i before e except after c” speaks of an exception to a spelling rule. If you run every day but take Saturday off, make an exception.
If your teacher punishes you for being late even if you have an excuse, she might say, “I`m sorry, but I can`t make an exception. When you see an exception, you think, “Something different than usual is happening. So teenagers `usually` don`t clean their rooms.