Improve Your Spelling: I before E

You know the mantra “I before E, except after C” all too well, we’re sure. It's one of the best known spelling rules out there! This spelling rule will take you many places, and in general will serve you well. With words such as PIECE, you can see that I does indeed come before E. And in RECEIVE, E comes before I, after that C there.


Note: Troy and I recommend only products that we have tried and tested. These include the popular spelling-improvement software Ultimate Spelling.*


But — you knew there was going to be a “but”, didn’t you? — there are always exceptions to rules. Some of these exceptions are based on the vowel sounds in a word. The longer form of the little rhyme runs: "I before E, except after C, or when sounded as "A," as in neighbour and weigh.” This exception can be seen in some of the words below.

Here are the notable ones you need to keep an eye out for!

  • ATHEISM
  • BEIGE
  • CODEINE
  • DEITY
  • DEIGN
  • EIDER
  • EIGHT
  • FEIGN
  • FEISTY
  • FOREIGN
  • FREIGHT
  • HEIGHT
  • HEIR
  • LEISURE
  • NEIGH
  • NEIGHBOUR/NEIGHBOR
  • NEITHER
  • PROTEIN
  • REIN
  • SCIENCE
  • SEIZE
  • SOCIETY
  • SPECIES
  • SUFFICIENT
  • SURFEIT
  • THEIR
  • VEIL
  • VEIN
  • WEIR
  • WEIRD
  • WEIGH
  • WEIGHT

There are other less common words that don’t conform to the “I before E” rule too, but this list contains the most commonly used offenders. If you make a special note of them, your spelling will improve and you won't get tripped up by those pesky vowels!

If you need further help with your spelling, then we recommend the popular spelling-improvement software, Ultimate Spelling.


*Troy and I have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of the Ultimate Spelling software because we are happy to endorse that software.

 

Last modified on Friday, 27 November 2015 23:15
English Language Skills (Denise)

English Language Skills (Denise)

I'm a syndicated puzzle writer, with 8 puzzle books to my name, including Word Searches for Dummies and Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies (with Mark Koltko-Rivera). I have a background in science and graphic design, and am a trained indexer. My favourite puzzles are cryptic crosswords. and my favourite books are murder mysteries and cookbooks. I am also a very keen knitter.

I write a blog all about puzzles, called Puzzling.

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