Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Editing for Grammarphobes: Exceptions

I before E, except after C is probably the most famous spelling rule in the English language. We all can recite it, usually in the sing-song, child-like way we learned it, but do you remember the exceptions?


Yes, neighbor and weigh, which sometimes are added at the end of the mnemonic device. 


Any others?


Well, as it turns out, there are many. I found an article by Bob Cunningham, “Exceptions to the rule ‘I before E except after C,’” on the alt.usage.english newsgroup website. Here are some of the words Cunningham mentioned.


beige
heinous
veil
vein
weight
codeine
conscience
foreign
heir
weird


Rules are interesting, aren’t they? As soon as one is formalized, there is always an exception.


Coming Friday —


Don’t miss Lee Libro’s charming tale of a family struggling to say a blessing before eating dinner on this week’s Flash Fiction Fridays.











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