i Before e, Except When It Isn’t

January 24, 2011

The mnemonic goes like this, “i” before “e” except after “c”. There are more exceptions to the rule than words that follow the rule. In a guide, Support For Spelling, that was distributed by the British government to 13,000 primary schools it was suggested that the rule, “I before E except after C”, should be dropped because it “is not worth teaching”.

The truth is I don’t think this rule has ever helped me, just the opposite, It never fails to mess me up. Thank god for spell check, otherwise I guess I’d have to learn to spell all these words!  Here are some of the words I use pretty much all the time.

weird
neither

either
neighbor
weigh
their
seize
height
eight
sufficient
protein

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