Kory Stamper of Merriam-Webster said the neighboring and cradle version is “filled with tons of exceptions” and lists several species.  In the 2006 Language Log, Mark Liberman suggested that the “i before e, no matter what” alternative was more reliable than the basic rule.  On the same blog, Geoff Pullum wrote in 2009: “The rule is always taught by anyone who knows what he is doing as `i before e, except after c, when the sound is `ee`.”  A question we are often asked is why so many English words do not follow the “i before e” rule: i before e except after c. Well, the English language can be inconsistent. This is what makes English such a lively and expressive language, but it can also make it a nightmare to learn it. We have been influenced by languages with spelling paradigms so different that we don`t have correct spelling. In 1932, Leonard B. Wheat rules and word lists from various American elementary school books. He calculated that of the 3,876 words listed, 128 had ei or ie in spelling; of these, 83 corresponded to I-avant-E, 6 to extra-to-C, and 12 sounded like A. He found 14 words with i-e in separate syllables and 2 with e-i in separate syllables.
This left 11 “irregular” words: 3 with co. (old, conscientious, efficiency) and 8 with ei (i.e., foreigner, foreigner, size, leisure, neither of them, grasp theirs). Wheat concluded: “If it were not for the fact that the rule`s jingle makes it easy to remember (although it is not necessarily easy to apply), the author would recommend reducing the rule to `I usually come before e` or abandoning it altogether.  Teaching English Spelling (Cambridge University Press, 2000) provides a phonetic-spelling matching system to correct common spelling errors among native speakers and ESL students. The chapter “The `e` sound (/iː/)” contains sections on the spellings “ee”, “ea”, “-y” and “ie and ei”, the latter of which uses “I before E except after C” and lists five “common exceptions” (caffeine, codeine, protein, grasp, bizarre).  “I before E, except after C” is a mnemonic rule of thumb for English spelling. If one is not sure whether a word is written with the digraph ei or ie, the rhyme indicates that the correct order is ie, unless the preceding letter is c, in which case it is ei. For example: Also, Wikipedia usefully points out that there are a handful of (albeit obscure) words that break both the phrases “i before e” and “except after c”, including cheiromancies, cleidomancy, proper frequencies, and oneiromancies. ” I Before E Except After C ” is a song by Yazoo from their 1982 album Upstairs at Eric`s. The Jackson 5`s 1970 hit “ABC” has the lyrics “I before E except after C.” ” I before E except after C ” was a 1963 episode of the television series East Side/West Side.
Let`s get back to that challenge. In fact, I solved it. The total of 923 words that break the rule are false. It`s actually more. (Didn`t you see that coming, did you?) QI, a quiz show on the BBC, reported the number of 923 determined by Scrabble experts, but that`s the number of words ending in “-cie.” Add any “e” before “i” words that don`t follow a “c” and you`ll have an even more visible number. I do not know what that number is, but I am sure it is impressive. The proverb i before e, except after c, is intended to help us spell correctly, but it only reliably identifies the category of words that include receiving and conceited. This is a good quick reminder of this common pattern, but keep in mind that there are many exceptions to this “rule”, such as stop, height, etc. You`ve heard it before (or at least the first half). We have heard it before. Almost every English student since 1866 (when the first two lines appeared as a footnote in James Stuart Laurie`s English Spelling Handbook) has heard it.
It is designed to help you remember how words are written using IE and EI. Is that still fair? Well. The restriction on the “long e” sound is explicit in the 1855 and 1862 books and applied to the rhyme “I before E except after C” in an 1871 textbook.  Mark Wainwright`s post in the alt.usage.English newsgroup characterizes this limited version as British.  The restriction may be implicit or explicit in the form of an additional line such as “when the sound is e” before  or after the body of the rhyme. The words that break both the “I before E” part and the “except after C” part of the rule are cheiromancies, cleidomancy, eigenfrequencies, obeisancies, oneiromancies. Today we`re going to talk a bit about one of the English “OG rules”: often you`ll come across articles about English grammar that say something like “You can do X but not Y, and if you do Z, your writing will be bad and you should feel bad.” OK, ouch. On the one hand, yes, English has many useful rules that have evolved over hundreds of years.
And yes, the rules help standardize each language, which is important so that those who speak them can all understand each other. On the other hand, there are absolute rules – and at least in English, they always seem to have an exception. How is a language supposed to evolve over time without breaking a few rules here and there? The first task is to check the relationship between the spellings “ie” and “ei” – do I usually come before e? The good news is that it is – in about three-quarters of all words with a pair “ie” or “ei”, the correct spelling is “ie”, as the rule would have you believe. English is a language heavily borrowed from many other languages. Rules (and “rules”) have been chosen and selected in so many places that it is difficult to follow them. The truth is that in this language there are not really many absolute rules. So the next time you see something that says, “Do X, but not Y, and be ashamed of the people who do Z,” know that you can give that advice aside. This bothered grammarians, so they tried to create rules to make English cleaner and easier to learn. I before e is one of those rules. Unfortunately, it was created after most of the words “ie”. Whoops. But like many, many other rules in the English language, it turns out to be built on a foundation of lies.
The mnemonic (in its abbreviated form) is found as early as 1866 in the Manual of English Spelling, edited by school inspector James Stuart Laurie based on the work of a Tavistock schoolmaster named Marshall.  Michael Quinion suspects that the rhyme was established before this date.  An 1834 textbook mentions a similar rule in prose;  Others in 1855 and 1862 used different rhymes.   Many textbooks from the 1870s onwards used the same rhyme as Laurie`s book.  So there you have it, shocking grammatical meme exposed. As for the “i” rule before “e”. It`s eye-catching, but it may not be as useful as we thought in elementary school. i before e except after horn if it sounds and weighs as `a` as in neighbor I before e, except after c Or if it sounds `a` as in `neighbor` and `weigh` Unless the `c` is part of a `sh` sound as in `glacier` Or it appears in comparisons and superlatives as `fanciful` And also if vowels like `e` as in `grasp` or `i` as in `height` Or also in inflections `-ing` Se ending in `-e` as in `cueing` Or in compound words as in `alwhile` Or sometimes in technical words with strong etymological links to their mother tongues as in `cuneiform` or in other numerous and random exceptions such as `science`, `decay` and `strange`.