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OT I before E [was Re: Lies in education [was Re: The "loop and a half"]]

On Thu, 5 Oct 2017 02:54 pm, Chris Angelico wrote:

> On Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 2:22 PM, Steve D'Aprano
> <steve+python at pearwood.info> wrote:
>> It is, I think, an example of a stupid English language folklore that
>> people repeat unthinkingly, even though the counter-examples are obvious
>> and common. Like "I before E except after C", which is utter rubbish.
> That's because it's only half the rule. I before E except after C,
> when the sound is "aye" or the sound is "ee". If the sound isn't one
> of those, the rule doesn't apply. So yeah, in that form, it's utter
> rubbish.

Even when the sound is "A" or "EE", there are still exceptions. (As you say.)


The best version of the rule I ever heard was:

"I before E, EXCEPT after C, AND when sounding like A, as in neighbor, and
weigh, and on weekends, and holidays, and all throughout May, and you'll
always be wrong NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY!"


> (There are exceptions even to the longer form of the rule, but only a
> handful. English isn't a tidy language.)

Even with the longer version of the rule, there are so few applicable cases,
and enough difficulty in applying the rule correctly, that the rule is not
worth the breath it takes to say it.

?Cheer up,? they said, ?things could be worse.? So I cheered up, and sure
enough, things got worse.