I before e except after c… that’s weird.


Today I invite you (because I’m just like that) to consider the following mnemonic, a topic of some heated debate on Facebook today!

(No, actually, I was the only one who cared. As usual.)

“I before e except after c
or when sounded like “ay” as in neighbor and weigh
and if leisurely foreigners counterfeit play
neither one will be seizing the weird heights today!”

I just totally made that second part up! Well, not totally — my mother used to say something about weird leisurely foreigners, but can I remember it? No ma’am. And why not? Because it didn’t RHYME, that’s why not!

Here are the rest of the words: the prize goes to the feisty deity who deigns to compose a heinous rhyme that includes them all!

What’s the prize? Well, what else? A heifer in a peignoir!

The Exceptions:
beige, cleidoic, codeine, conscience, deify, deity, deign,

dreidel, eider, eight, either, feign, feint, feisty,

foreign, forfeit, freight, gleization, gneiss, greige,

greisen, heifer, heigh-ho, height, heinous, heir, heist,

leitmotiv, neigh, neighbor, neither, peignoir, prescient,

rein, science, seiche, seidel, seine, seismic, seize, sheik,

society, sovereign, surfeit, teiid, veil, vein, weight,

weir, weird


2 Responses to “I before e except after c… that’s weird.”

  1. I never really relied on mnemonic devices when I was learning how to spell growing up. I just memorized the words. I don’t really know why I did that, really. Maybe it was because I subconsciously knew that the mnemonic devices could never be trusted since there are ALWAYS exceptions.

  2. 2 Mom

    Neither foreigner had the leisure to seize the weird heights. Funny thought.

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