“I” Before “E” Except After “C”

The Alphabet doesn't even follow the rule

well, and except in

deify and xanthein and prescience and mercies and casein
and contingencies and accountancies and protein and atheist
and eight and intimacies and pharmacies and kakistocracies
and seignorial and fancies and edelweiss and deil and aquivalencies.


disseize, efficiency, fallacies, neighbor, their, heigh-ho
sovereign, species, gleization, reinforce, abortifacient, freight
idiocies, geitost, gesundheit, accuracies, vein, inveigle, counterfeit
omniscient, heifer, delinquencies, czarocracies, skein, weight, deign


meiosis, spontaneity,
policies, schlockmeister,
surfeit, fancier,
choccies, caffeine,
monteith, foreseeing,
infrequencies, conservancies,
emergencies, phenolphthalein,
inefficiencies, feint
seine, concierge,
codeine, canoeing,
reisolate, beige,
specie, concurrencies,

**sad trombone**

sleigh and safeish and weir and phthalein and reindustrialize
inconsistencies and sufficient and currencies and zeitgeist
inscient and seize and seismic and inaccuracies and supremacies
weigh and heinous and hacienda and agreeing and sleight
obeisance and kaleidoscope and reinvest and seidel and extravagancies
leitmotiv and greisen and fancied and financier and abbacies

Okay, seriously, why is this a rule…

This little sing-songy rhyme makes no sense. The English language is known for its treacherous phonetic terrain. No little ditty can contain its subtleties. They should have added some conditions to the song:

“I” before “e” except after “c,” unless in names or foreign-borrowed words, and don’t do it with plurals of words that end in -cy, and if it’s a word from the latin root “sci” just let it be, and really the whole “after c” bit only works with words from the latin root “cept.”*

But that doesn’t roll off the tongue. Maybe it’s better to send the kids back to recess without a strong command of the English language.

*Linguistic rules a la Arika Okrent, Mental Floss


geisha and onomatopoeia and
sensei and gneiss and
heist and deficient and
zootheism and eiderdown and
being and insufficient and
deity and greige

forfeit + frequencies + society + teiid + adhocracies
exigencies + scarabaeid + keister + Alzheimer’s + seiche + albeit
plebeian + therein + aberrancies + aristocracies + fahrenheit
magistracies + dreidel + reissue + efficient + foreign
surveillance + proficient + reindeer + competencies + veil
seizin + seeing + eider + ancient + absenteeism + cleidoic
stein + glacier + sheik + rein + agencies + conscience + feign


heir, consistencies, dreeing, atheism, democracies, pein, excellencies, ecstacies



well that was weird.


Elliot The Intern

Elliot is a sophomore at Harvard (or is it Yale… Go Huskies? jk you haven’t heard of his school), where he studies epistemology and the way spiders craft vainglorious webs over his bed. He is very thankful for the opportunity to work with The Airspace and greatly enjoys staring blankly at Blake’s mouth while he talks. You can follow him on twitter, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

  • ralph


  • http://www.stuffthusfar.com/ STUFF_THUS_FAR

    Gee. Learning German gets my knickers in a twist sometimes, but thank God I don’t have to learn my way through that illogical mess.

Commentary Ticker

  • Google Glass Lets You Take Photos With Your Brain
    July 12, 2014 | 4:02 pm

    If you haven’t heard, electroencephalograms (EEGs) have been getting better. Way better. Artificial limbs and even video game controllers are utilizing the non-invasive brain-wave monitoring method to guide computers by thought. Now English startup This Place has developed a way to bring the technology to Google Glass, allowing Google’s wearable to read your mind. Well, […]

  • Android Art: The Accidental Selfies of Google Art Project
    July 5, 2014 | 11:11 am

    Within the cultural centers of the world lurks a mechanical beast draped in silver spinning madly and capturing everything, sometimes even itself. In 2011 Google created the Art Project, an initiative to bring their Street View technology inside the cultural epicenters of the world. Google enlisted 17 world-class museums in short time. Institutions such as […]

  • Purple Mountunes Majesty: The Most Patriotic Playlist
    July 4, 2014 | 12:13 pm

    A while ago, Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest, a music-analysis company, took to finding each state’s most distinctive, yet popular, artist in a viral article. Spotify took note, purchasing Echo Nest for their analytical talent. Together, they’ve released a blog post documenting each state’s most distinctively American song creating a patriotic playlist for the […]

  • Emojinealogy: Where the Heck Emojis Come From
    July 2, 2014 | 3:10 pm

    On June 16th, the Unicode Consortium announced that 250 new emoji would be added to the list of symbols available to people’s cellphones and computer devices. The list of the new symbols can be found on Emojipedia. And no, the list doesn’t include the much needed minority representation, but it does include your favorite (?) […]

  • The Decline and Fall of the American Mall
    June 24, 2014 | 9:07 pm

    For ages, the shopping mall was as essential to the architecture of suburbia as Levittowns and freeways. But in an era of online shopping, these epicenters of brick and mortar yesteryear are quietly being abandoned across the country. While the U.S. currently has around 1,500, the number may soon shrink, and rapidly, leading to abandoned […]

  • RSSArchive for Commentary Ticker »

Join our mailing list!

Trending on The Airspace