“i” before “e” exceptions

Does the rule “i” before “e” except after c always apply? What are the exceptions to english spelling rules such as these?

As we already know, i comes before e except after c in words such as:

siege, friend, thief,

As e comes before i after c in words such as:

ceiling, receive, deceive, conceit

The only exceptions to these rules are:

i before e icon i before e does NOT occur in words that sound like “A” such as:

neighbor, weigh, weight, freight, feign, beige, reign, sleigh, vein, surveillance, etc

i before e icon i before e does NOT occur in words where “c” sounds like “sh” such as:

ancient, efficient, species

i before e icon i before e does NOT occur in words with a long “ee” sound such as:

weird, seize, leisure, being, either, neither, sheik

i before e icon i before e does NOT occur in most chemical names such as:

caffeine, casein, codeine, protein, pthalein, etc

i before e icon i before e does NOT occur in most proper names such as:

Keira, Breidi, Kieth, Neil, Ashleigh, Sheila, Deirdre, etc

i before e icon i before e does NOT occur in most prefixes starting in “de” or “re”:

deindustrialize, reingnite, reinstitutionalize,

 

i before e icon There are also many other difficult to classify exceptions such as:

counterfeit, feisty, rottweiller, seismic, seismograph, stein, zeitgeist, foreign, forfeit, sovereign, surfeit, albeit, atheism, deify, deity, herein, gneiss, height, veil, etc

Many of these words have some type of common theme or sound that we can somehow use to remember. There have been several mnemonics developed to assist in remembering some of these exceptions.

i before e icon “i before e except after c or when sounding like a as in neighbor and weigh.”

i before e icon “When the sound is ee it’s i before e except after c.”

i before e icon“Neither the weird financier nor the foreigner seizes leisure at its height.”

i before e icon“Let neither financier inveigle the sheikh into seizing either species of weird leisure.

i before e icon“Neither leisured sheik seized Deirdre’s weird foreign heights,”

Here’s a visual quick recap of those i before e exceptions

i before e exceptions graphic

“i” before “e” words

The rule i before e except after c has many exceptions. In fact it has so many that the British government advised against teaching the rule in June of 2009.

The word that violates the rule the worst in the English language is “oneiromancies,” which is actually the plural form of oneiromancy. It’s meaning is divination by means of dreams. The word breaks the rule twice, in both ways.

Therefore in the situation of writing or even spelling them during a Spelling Bee correctly, it is more advisable to learn these exceptions by ‘sight’ so that one can determine if they look and appear to be spelled correctly.

These are some of the most common exceptions with i before e words.

their
either
ancient
agencies
conspiracies
science

 There are a total of 5223 words in the English language that contain a combination of either ei or ie.

 3885 of these words contain the letters ie

 1338 of these words contain the letters ei

1231 of these words violate the rule of i before e except after c

Here is a partial list of these i before e words (word that contain cie):

1 ) Abbacies
2 ) Abortifacient
3 ) abortifacient
4 ) absorbefacient
5 ) Acierage
6 ) Agencies
7 ) Alliciency
8 ) Allicient
9 ) Ancient
10 ) Anciently
11 ) Ancientness
12 ) Ancientry
13 ) Ancienty
14 ) -ancies
15 ) Appetencies
16 ) Aristocracies
17 ) Autocracies
18 ) Bankruptcies
19 ) Beneficient
20 ) Brevetcies
21 ) Buoyancies
22 ) Calefacient
23 ) Calorifacient
24 ) Calorificient
25 ) Cierge
26 ) -cies
27 ) Clarencieux
28 ) Clemencies
29 ) Coefficiency
30 ) Coefficient
31 ) Coefficiently
32 ) Concierge
33 ) Conciergerie
34 ) Confederacies
35 ) Conscience
36 ) Conscienced
37 ) Conscienceless
38 ) Conscient
39 ) Conscientious
40 ) Conscientiously
41 ) Conscientiousness
42 ) Conspiracies
43 ) Constituencies
44 ) Contingencies
45 ) Contumacies
46 ) Correspondencies
47 ) Curacies
48 ) Currencies
49 ) Decencies
50 ) Deficience
51 ) Deficiencies
52 ) Deficiency
53 ) Deficient
54 ) Deficient-ly
55 ) Delicacies
56 ) Delinquencies
57 ) Delirifacient
58 ) Democracies
59 ) Dependencies
60 ) Despiciency
61 ) Effeminacies
62 ) efficience
63 ) efficiency
64 ) efficient
65 ) Efficient
66 ) Efficiently
67 ) Emergencies
68 ) Ensigncies
69 ) Excellencies
70 ) Exigencies
71 ) Extravagancies
72 ) faciend
73 ) Faciend
74 ) facient
75 ) Facient
76 ) Facies
77 ) Fallacies
78 ) Fancied
79 ) Fancier
80 ) Fancies
81 ) Febrifacient
82 ) Financier
83 ) Financiered
84 ) Financiering
85 ) Flagrancies
86 ) Frequencies
87 ) Glacier
88 ) Hacienda
89 ) Icier
90 ) Iciest
91 ) Illiteracies
92 ) Improficience
93 ) Improficiency
94 ) Inaccuracies
95 ) Inclemencies
96 ) Inconsistencies
97 ) Incumbencies
98 ) Indecencies
99 ) Indeficiency
100 ) Indeficient
101 ) Indelicacies
102 ) Inefficiency
103 ) Inefficient
104 ) Inefficiently
105 ) Inelegancies
106 ) Inscience
107 ) Inscient
108 ) Insolvencies
109 ) Insufficience
110 ) Insufficiency
111 ) Insufficient
112 ) Insufficiently
113 ) Intendancies
114 ) Internunciess
115 ) Intimacies
116 ) Intricacies
117 ) Juicier
118 ) Juiciest
119 ) lanciers
120 ) Legacies
121 ) Liquefacient
122 ) Lunacies
123 ) Magistracies
124 ) Maleficience
125 ) Maleficient
126 ) Mercies
127 ) Nescience
128 ) Nigromancie
129 ) Nigromancien
130 ) Nonproficiency
131 ) nonproficient
132 ) Nonproficient
133 ) Objicient
134 ) Omniscience
135 ) Omnisciency
136 ) Omniscient
137 ) Omnisciently
138 ) Parturifacient
139 ) Perficient
140 ) Perspicience
141 ) pichyciego
142 ) Piracies
143 ) Policied
144 ) Policies
145 ) Pr’ecieuse
146 ) Prelacies
147 ) Prescience
148 ) Prescient
149 ) Presciently
150 ) Presidencies
151 ) Privacies
152 ) Procuracies
153 ) Proficience
154 ) Proficiency
155 ) Proficient
156 ) Proficiently
157 ) Prophecies
158 ) Prospicience
159 ) Racier
160 ) Raciest
161 ) Regencies
162 ) Remercie
163 ) Rubefacient
164 ) Saciety
165 ) Saucier
166 ) Sauciest
167 ) Science
168 ) Scient
169 ) Scienter
170 ) Sciential
171 ) Scientific
172 ) Scientifical
173 ) Scientifically
174 ) Scientist
175 ) scientist
176 ) Secrecies
177 ) Self-sufficiency
178 ) Self-sufficient
179 ) Sensifacient
180 ) Sergeancies
181 ) Societarian
182 ) Societary
183 ) Societies
184 ) Society
185 ) Sorbefacient
186 ) Specie
187 ) Species
188 ) Spicier
189 ) Spiciest
190 ) Stupefacient
191 ) stupifacient
192 ) Subspecies
193 ) Sufficience
194 ) Sufficiency
195 ) Sufficient
196 ) Sufficiently
197 ) Superficies
198 ) Suspiciency
199 ) Tenacies
200 ) Tendencies
201 ) Transparencies
202 ) Tumefacient
203 ) Unmercied
204 ) Unpolicied
205 ) Unproficiency
206 ) Unscience
207 ) Unscientific
208 ) Unsufficience
209 ) Unsufficiency
210 ) Unsufficient
211 ) Vacancies
212 ) Valencies

So approximately 25% of the time the rule will always be violated. Luckily there was a book written i before e except after c book, by Judy Parkinson to help us combat this gross inconsistency and also help us remember other English spelling rules to avoid embarrassment.

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i before e book

The i before e except after c book was written by Judy Parkinson and teaches old-school ways to remember stuff. It’s an amusing collection of brilliant mnemonics that were developed to help us learn important facts as children that will stay with us as adults.

Examples:

* Geography: Remember North East South West by reciting the phrase Never Eat Slimy Worms or Naughty Elephants Squirt Water.
* The Calendar Months and Days: “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November; All the rest have 31 excepting February alone; And that has 28 days clear; With 29 in each leap year”
* Roman Numerals: “I Value Xylophones Like Cows Dig Milk”

Judy also includes poems and other tricks like using your knuckles to remember how many days in each month, using a poem to memorize the value of pi to 31 places, simple spelling tricks for students and teachers such as how to spell the word “beautiful” by remembering the saying “Big Elephants Are Usually BEAUtiful”.

The clever acronyms are endless and makes a perfect addition to students, teachers and any language lover’s collection.

The i before e book looks like
i before e book

Read the i before e book by Judy Parkinson

Ways to profit from misspellings

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