I before E except …

English spelling confounds many people, native and second-language speakers alike. We rely on computer spell-checkers to help us, but we can memorize a few rules. Over the next few days, this blog will focus on spelling rules. Here is the first one:

I before E except after C or when sounding like A as in “neighbor” and “weigh.”

Here are examples:

i before e: believe, chief, niece.

e before i: receive, conceit, vein, sleigh.

Of course, there are exceptions. Here is a sentence I learned a long time ago to help me remember some exceptions:

Neither financier seized either weird species of leisure.

Those aren’t the only exceptions, though. Here are others:

foreign, height, conscience, science, sufficient, counterfeit, forfeit.

This article was originally posted by the Raleigh News & Observer, a subsidiary of The McClatchy Co.; is posted here to provide continuity; and is copyright © 2011 The News & Observer Publishing Company, which reserves the right to remove this post.