I before E, except after C...

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/07/29 17:18 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2006/07/29/682785.aspx

Now how does that saying go?

I before E, except after C,
Or when it sound like 'A', like in Neighbor and Weigh,
Or when it sound like 'Ear', like in the word Weird,
Unless it sound like 'Eek', like in Duncan Sheik!

Ok, I added that last part in. But in my defense I do have that built-in appreciation for singer/songwriters, and it is how his name is spelled. But what do you expect me to do, when Duncan Sheik is playing in Seattle tonight? :-)

That's right, he will be at Chop Suey, playing with Vienna Teng. Doors open at 9pm.

You can get tickets here (from TicketWeb), and if you happen to see me scooting along then feel free to say hi and mention if you heard about the show reading here! :-)

If I get up the nerve, I'll ask Duncan if the 'Mark Liberman' in the "Thanks to:" section of the liner notes in his newest album (White Limosine) is the Penn linguist I've mentioned in the past....

# Ben Cooke on 29 Jul 2006 8:31 PM:

I recall that when I was about 12 or so -- a scarily long time ago -- I would say "I before E except after C, and except when the word is Weird". At the age of 12 I thought myself very witty for coming up with this brilliant double-meaning. Of course, like many of my brilliant childhood accomplishments, I've since come to realise that (obviously) I was far from the first person to have this particular idea.

# BlakeHandler on 29 Jul 2006 8:34 PM:

So how does that explain: weird, feign and foreign?

Blake Handler

# Jo-Pete Nelson on 30 Jul 2006 4:01 AM:

I usually shorten it to "I before E accept after C... that's weird"

# CarlosT on 30 Jul 2006 3:00 PM:

Or as a lot of Latin students learn, I before E, except after C, or in Aeneid.

# anandi on 30 Jul 2006 10:56 PM:

Dang, I just saw this after the show last night.  I should have said 'hi' - I was pretty sure I recognized you from work and your blog...

Oh well, how did you like the show?


# Adam on 31 Jul 2006 9:36 AM:

Seen on slashdot many moons ago:

"'I before E' rules are weird and unscientific."

which cleverly incorporates an exception in each direction to the basic rule. :)

# Michael S. Kaplan on 31 Jul 2006 9:59 AM:

Hey Anandi --

The show was great! I'll try and post a review today....

# - R on 2 Aug 2006 5:02 PM:

I think that Duncan's name would have originally fallen under a different aspect of the rule, as the more commonly accepted pronunciation of the word is with a long A, like SHAKE. (see http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/sheik for more details)

A few weeks ago I posted a fairly exhaustive list of the exceptions to the rule:  http://rnblog.theoslogic.com/2006/07/weird.html

# Michael S. Kaplan on 2 Aug 2006 5:08 PM:

Heh, I know -- one only has to take the phrase "Sheik Shriek" to see that his name is yet another exception. I was just having some fun with it all. :-)

Thanks for the link, in any case!

# Mike on 11 Nov 2007 9:05 AM:

I don't understand! what about field and their, please explain.....

# Michael S. Kaplan on 11 Nov 2007 9:44 AM:

Hey Mike....

More exceptions, that's all.

# dre on 4 Aug 2008 4:59 AM:

i think i before e but exept after e is dumb

cool girl on 7 Sep 2010 8:58 PM:

thx u saved me fromm getting a F in my language arts test. thax dude:) ;)

Michael S. Kaplan on 7 Sep 2010 9:03 PM:

I'm here to help! What grade? :-)

Michele on 12 Oct 2010 4:37 PM:

Just looked this up to help my son out for his spelling test tomorrow.  I could only remember the first part "I before e except after c and sometimes..."  -then it all went into a haze.  lol...  But now I got it, and so does he!  Thanks! :)  

bella/marko on 5 May 2011 6:03 AM:

I know all this stuff but it was lots of help to a friend of mines 3 year old daughter

Bart Burroughs on 12 Jul 2011 6:30 AM:

Actually, the real pronunciation of Sheik is not sh-eek but sh-ake so it sounds like A.

Airman USN on 11 Nov 2011 6:56 AM:

What rule applies to the word seizure?

Michael S. Kaplan on 11 Nov 2011 7:55 AM:

The Duncan Sheik rule, of course!

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referenced by

2006/08/04 Duncan Sheik and Vienna Teng last weekend

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