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I before C except

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909247.  Sun May 13, 2012 6:34 pm Reply with quote

Just watching an old episode on Dave where the queation was raised about the spelling rule in British English, 'I before E except agfter C' and it was unremittingly castigated for being incorrect and there were more exceptions to the rule than there were correct words.
However, the rule was not fully quoted. In my Scottish school in the 1950s we were taught as follows:

'I before E, except after C, IF IT RHYMES WITH KEY.'

Am I alone with this 'folk' memory - and, Elven people, how does that affect the now incorrect statistics quoted?

Spud McLaren
909248.  Sun May 13, 2012 6:45 pm Reply with quote

I welcome m'learned colleague to the QI forums, and refer him/her to post 864170 et seq.

909263.  Mon May 14, 2012 3:24 am Reply with quote

Thank you, Elven persons, so glad not to be alone on the branch and sawing.

909277.  Mon May 14, 2012 5:06 am Reply with quote


909298.  Mon May 14, 2012 6:47 am Reply with quote

That seems to me to be a particularly interesting exception. If it came from the French 'ciel' (meaning 'sky') via the Normans one might have expected the word to have conformed to the rule? But Merriam-Webster holds that "Middle English celing, from celen. First Known Use: 1535" is its true provenance. I find that Quite Interesting.

Sadurian Mike
909306.  Mon May 14, 2012 7:04 am Reply with quote

Does cei(ling) not rhyme with key(ling)?

909313.  Mon May 14, 2012 7:33 am Reply with quote

Hi, Thermaloy; welcome to QI.

909467.  Tue May 15, 2012 12:23 am Reply with quote

Thank you, Strawberry. After a lot of soul searching thought I'd give QI a try. Always willing to learn something new.

909468.  Tue May 15, 2012 12:28 am Reply with quote

[quote="Sadurian Mike"]Does cei(ling) not rhyme with key(ling)?[/quote]
Sadurian Mike, you spotted the deliberate mistake. Have a Jaffa cake as a prize.

910375.  Sun May 20, 2012 3:42 am Reply with quote

I would like to refute the claim that it is no longer taught. At my school only about two years ago I was given a pretentiously named "book of pocket posters" one of which covered the rule i before e except after c if the sound is e. My dad also remebers being taught this rule as a child.

910526.  Sun May 20, 2012 2:51 pm Reply with quote

When I was taught this at primary school (Late 1990s, early 21st century) we were taught it just as "I before E except after C" - I seem to remember by some strange dancing animations. That's another story though.
The number of things I spelt wrong, because of following the 'rule' and being so confused when the teacher told me it was spelt the other way.

I remember asking once why it wasn't spelt what I assumed was correctly, and following the aforementioned rule.
The answer went along the lines of "Because it just is." - what good teachers I had.

910618.  Mon May 21, 2012 3:15 am Reply with quote

I remember being taught that rule. I said that was weird.
Sorry for the pun. Welcome to QI.

Prof Wind Up Merchant
911122.  Wed May 23, 2012 4:03 am Reply with quote

Hacienda. There I said it.

911130.  Wed May 23, 2012 4:28 am Reply with quote


911344.  Wed May 23, 2012 8:42 pm Reply with quote

Surely the simple rule is to help teach four- or five-year-olds the kind of words they are likely to use. By the time they are ten or twelve and encounter more tricky words they should just be learning to spell them?


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