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Spelling Words With EI and IE: “I Before E Except After C” Rule

Updated on September 30, 2022Grammar

I before E, except after C

Have you ever memorized the chorus of a song? You may sing a few lines over and over, but you can’t remember what comes after the section you know. Many people recite the mnemonic “I before E, except after C.” They either don’t remember or never learned the rest of the rhyme. Here are two additional lines that reveal some exceptions to the spelling rule:

I before E, except after C,

unless it sounds like A,

as in neighbor or weigh

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There are many exceptions to this rule—maybe it’s better to think of it as a guideline—but it can be helpful with words like the ones below.

I before E

Would you like a piece of cake?

Jerry will believe anything.

They’re planting new grass on the football field .

Except after C

Darnell received an A on his spelling test.

Jeremy spotted a spider on the ceiling .

I never expected such deceit from you!

Unless it sounds like A

Our neighbors live in a beige house.

How much does the kitten weigh ?

Here’s a tip: It’s a good idea to memorize these common exceptions to the rule:

seize, either, weird, height, foreign, leisure, conscience, counterfeit, forfeit, neither, science, species, sufficient

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