Wednesday, 29 October 2008

i before e (except after c)

I came across a wonderful book in the library – about which I shall blog more at some stage – called “i before e (except after c)” by Judy Parkinson. I can wholeheartedly recommend anyone to buy it. It is full of ‘old school ways to remember stuff’ but is also a way of learning new things. When I get my own copy I shall keep it by my bed and learn a page a night.

However, insofar as the mnemonic “i before e (except after c)" is concerned the rule is never quite as simple as it seems. The rule only works for certain pronunciations of “ie” like receive and piece. It does not work when sounded like the letter A – hence neighbour and sleigh are not i before e. Then there are other exceptions like leisure, ancient and, efficient. Consequently the rule is extended by some to read:-

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

OK but what about caffeine, species, protein, policies, weird, and seize?
All in all it’s very confusing.
Fortunately Judy Parkinson gives us a new rule –

“i before e, except after c,
or when sounded like a,
as in neighbour and weigh;
drop this rule when –e sounds as –sh.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello - thanks for dropping by to leave a comment. Your comments are much appreciated even if I don't always reply. They will appear as soon as they have been moderated.

Blog Archive