The Most Broken Rule in English

rogersgeorge on May 2nd, 2017

—or so I’m told. In fact, I read somewhere that we have more words with -ei- than with -ie! I wouldn’t even have mentioned this poor rule except I ran into a cartoon about it:

So why the part about ‘except after c’? Certain Latin words begin with c followed by a vowel, and they ended up in English with an e immediately after the c. Hence conceive, perceive, receive, and so on.

Some other exceptions to this rule: eight, reign, neighbor, weigh, weight, freight, feign, neigh, vein, deign, veil, beige, sheik, sleigh, feint, and lots more. At least these are all pronounced -ay. Hmm…

Notice that a lot of the words have a -gh? Maybe we could make a rule about -ei- that refers to -gh. —Nah, that would create even more problems, right?

You can also get an -ei- when a syllable intervenes, such as deionize and absenteeism.

To save you having to look it up, here’s a link to a list with more than a thousand of them. Not all the words are common, but you might enjoy looking over the list. Once anyweigh. Oops.

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Grammarian’s doomsday–figuratively, of course

rogersgeorge on January 12th, 2014

I mentioned a relative of this error recently, but when I ran into this  comic, I figured I’d give you a choice of how to demonstrate your curmudgeonliness—if you care about this point of grammar, of course.

Non Sequitur

Wiley Miller, November 25, 2013. The comic is called Non Sequitur.