|www.ethanwiner.com - since 1997|
"I" Before "E" Exceptions
Thanks to Alan Marchand for submitting the initial
text and list below.
If you know of other exceptions, please send them to me!
This list is based upon a "rule" that I learned as a student of junior high school English:
"I before E except after C; exceptions are either, neither,
foreign, leisure, protein, seize, and weird."
This list of rule exceptions strikes me as being woefully inadequate. To get the ball rolling, I am offering some additional entries, as follows. Some of the foregoing have their origins in other languages [e. g., treillage (French), leitmotiv (German), etc.]. Nevertheless, these words appear in English dictionaries, so they qualify for inclusion in this list of exceptions.
Acleisanthes (a genus of desert plants)
caffeine (and also decaffeinated)
cheiloplasty (lip reduction)
cheiloscopy (lip prints)
cheilosis (disease caused by riboflavin deficiency)
cleidomastoid (collar bone)
cysteine (a semi-essential proteinogenic amino acid)
deism, deist, deity
eider (as in waterfowl)
eidetic (photographic memory)
eigenvalue (and also eigenmode)
eight (and related numbers, such as 1/8, 1/80, 18, 80...)
Pleiades (star cluster)
reinstall, preinstall, reincarnation, reinvent, reinstate, reinstitute, (plus other "re-in" words with the "e" and "i" in adjacent syllables)
seigniorage (or seigneurage, if you prefer)
seine (as in "net")
sleight (of hand)
treillage (as in "trellis")
zeitgeist (bonus double exception!)
More from Alan:
My English teacher taught me well
A rule designed to help me spell
All words that range from A to Z
With 'I' 'fore 'E 'cept after 'C.'
This simple phrase, you'll be so kind,
To ever after bear in mind
And thus ensure the right decision
When writing words with great precision.
Santa's reindeer deign to neigh
When faced with overloaded sleigh.
An ancient species, gone astray,
Shall ever on my conscience weigh.
I could continue in this vein
As long as mass confusion reigns.
Another rule of thumb, I'd say,
That feisty neighbors oft inveigh.
Entire contents of this web site Copyright © 1997- by Ethan Winer. All rights reserved.