The UVic Writer's Guide


The most famous spelling rule, I before E except after C, is generally true but is more specific than is actually stated. The rule applies only if the letters produce the long "ee" sound, e.g.. piece and receive.

Words such as eight and height therefore do not conform to the rule, and neither do words like science in which the "i" and "e" are part of different syllables. Naturally, there are exceptions to the rule as well, such as "ie" words financier, species, and friendly, and "ei" words neither, weird, protein, seize, and leisure.

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Copyright, The Department of English, University of Victoria, 1995
This page updated Sept 23, 1995