I before E

by Danica

Read this first: British government spells end of ‘i before e’ rule

This is absolutely ridiculous. The reason why it’s “not worth teaching” the ‘i before e’ rule is because that’s all that people teach these days. The complete rule is:

Where there is a long ‘E’ sound, ‘I’ comes before ‘E’, except after ‘C’.

If you disregard the part about the ‘long E sound’ and ‘except after C’, then of course teaching ‘i before e’ becomes useless.

‘Sufficient’, ‘veil’ and ‘their’ don’t have long E sounds, therefore the rule doesn’t apply to them. ‘Sufficient’ may have ‘ie’ after a c, but how do you pronounce ‘sufficient’? “Suh-FISHEE-ent” or “suh-FISH-ent”? I’ve heard most people say the latter. But that’s not the point.

There’s a “Spelling Society” and you’d think they were aware that the entire rule has been forgotten. I paid attention in school, so I know the damn rule. I’m a bit of a grammar nazi sometimes. If the damn Spelling Society doesn’t even know how to apply the rule properly, then why are they the Spelling Society? I should be the Spelling Society.

Anyway, I read that news article and it got me all fired up and I had to go on a tirade.

[UPDATE 25.06.2009] So I was thinking, I made a really big boo-boo. The rule wouldn’t apply to ‘sufficient’ no matter which way you say it ’cause the C in ‘sufficient’ doesn’t come out to be a ‘c’ sound at all; it comes out to be a ‘sh’ sound. Silly me. [/UPDATE]

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