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I before E ... the rest

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810094.  Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:09 am Reply with quote

We had a discussion about that so-called "rule" of spelling when the topic first aired on the show; it is the main topic of a thread which begins at post 767810.

That thread is notable as being one of rather few on which Jenny and I have taken opposed positions!

810124.  Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:06 pm Reply with quote

810163.  Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:37 pm Reply with quote


810166.  Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:42 pm Reply with quote

You can get cream for that :)

810527.  Thu Apr 28, 2011 2:42 pm Reply with quote

Lol Cream? Didn't he form 10cc with Kevin Godley?

810968.  Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:14 am Reply with quote

"I before E except after C ... when the sound is EE". Or when sounding like hey, such as Neighbour or Weigh.

811246.  Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:14 pm Reply with quote

That still means that the sovereign's heirs are weird.

811272.  Fri Apr 29, 2011 10:29 pm Reply with quote

If it's a rule it's probably wrong
If it's a widely known rule it's even more likely to be wrong
If everyone knows it's right - it's definitely wrong

811284.  Sat Apr 30, 2011 2:32 am Reply with quote

Everyone knows bob spouts rubbish... errrm... QED?

897000.  Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:47 am Reply with quote

I was taught:

I before e except after C
or when sounding like 'a'
in neighbour or weigh.

910372.  Sun May 20, 2012 2:44 am Reply with quote

This has had much debate in my household as my 23 year old brother could not understand the concept of the rule, let alone how it doesn't work.. we tried explaining it slowly.. something along the lines of "you put the 'i' before the 'e' unless its after 'C' in which case it should be 'e' before 'i'." Once he had finally understood the rule we then had to explain that it was incorrect, it was like a live version of what happened in the show, but we then formed our own rule, 'E' before 'I' except after 'Y', I'd like to know for certain if this was an actual rule that already existed or if it even works. We found one case where it works, in the world 'yield', I couldn't think of anywhere better to post this than asking the QI community, So E before I except after Y?

910379.  Sun May 20, 2012 4:34 am Reply with quote

Let's call the whole thing off.

910497.  Sun May 20, 2012 2:08 pm Reply with quote

Catherine - I've never heard of y being brought into the case, except that a noun ending in a consonant followed by a y changes the y to ie in the plural, as in city-cities. Welcome to QI :-)

910549.  Sun May 20, 2012 4:13 pm Reply with quote

I just did some searches on a Scrabble word list.

Words with the letter sequence <YIE> are few in number - YIELD and various derivatives thereof, together with CLAYIER and CLAYIEST (from the adjective CLAYEY) and the rather obscure noun BRULYIE (Scots, a quarrel. The alternate spelling BRULZIE is more common; I'm guessing that it was originally spelled with a yogh).

But the sequence <YEI> is even less common - forms of DYEING and EYEING are all there is.

910616.  Mon May 21, 2012 2:35 am Reply with quote

136 vs 70, according to the OED wildcard search.


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