Category:English words not following the I before E except after C rule

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In English, of the letter sequences "ie" and "ei" occurring in spellings of words, "ei" is rare except when used after "c" to form "cei"; furthermore, letter sequence "cie" is rare (it occurs mostly in the plural of nouns ending "-cy" such as efficiency). This general rule is commonly known as the I before E except after C rule. The rule has several variations and exceptions including:

  • when the "ei" is pronounced in the same syllable:
    • when the "ei" makes the long "a" sound such as in beige, eight, reign and reindeer;
    • when the "ei" makes the short "e" sound such as in heir and their;
    • when the "ei" makes the long "e" sound such as in protein and weiner;
    • when the "ei" makes the long "i" sound such as in height and seismic;
  • when the "e" and "i" are pronounced in separate syllables:
    • when the suffix "ing" is added to a verb ending in "e" such as in being and seeing
    • when the suffix "ism" or "ist" is added to a noun ending in "e" such as in ageist and trueism
    • when the prefix "re" or "pre" is added to a verb beginning in "e" such as in preinstalled and reintroduce
    • when the word is instrinsically pronounced that way, such as in deity and science.

Listed below are some words which are exceptions to the most basic rule of "I before E except after C". Note that this list is incomplete and also does not include all variations of each word (such as theirs or sciences).

Specifically, words that break the rule either:

  • have the sequence CIE, as in glacier; or
  • have the sequence XEI where X is some other consonant (as in reinstall) or nothing (as in either or eiswein).

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