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i before e except after c, except...

Following on from our last post Lies your English teacher told you, here is another “rule” you should ignore: i before e except after c.

The rule applies to words where the letter combination is pronounced as ee, such as receive and ceiling. But what about words in which the letters are pronounced differently, such as science and efficient? Or words that don't include the letter c or ee sound, such as beige and neighbour

There are in fact 923 words in the English language that break the rule, and only 44 words that follow it! So if you’re not 100% sure of the spelling, your best bet is to check a dictionary. Watch this amusing clip from a QI episode to learn more.

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