Spelling (‘ie’ or ‘ei’)
‘i’ Issue 10 p. 41

 

Unsure as to when you should spell the word with ‘ie’ or ‘ei’? Read this guide to clear up any confusion!

The general rule is that in words where i and e are next to each other,
i will always appear before e unless the preceding letter is c : i before e except after c.

 

Note the following examples:

ie

achieve

thief

grief

piece

believe


ei (after ‘c’)

receive

deceive

receipt

ceiling

conceive


However, this rule only applies when the sound represented is ‘ee’.

It does not apply to the following words, where the sound represented is not ‘ee’:


science

foreign

neighbour

weight

vein


Exceptions to the general rule

As in every spelling rule, there are exceptions. There are a few exceptions to the general i before e rule, even when the sound is ‘ee’.


Here are some common examples:


seize

weird

caffeine


Can you think of more examples?