The English language is often inconsistent and many words are hard to spell. It would be great if English had rules that people could follow so they could spell words correct.  English does have a rhyming phrase that is used to help people spell words that have an ‘ie’ or an ‘ei’ in them.  This spelling rule should give the correct order of these two letters in most cases and it is: “I before E except after C, Or when sounded as ‘a’, As in ‘neighbor’ or ‘weigh’.”

This rule is nice because it rhymes and that makes it easier to learn, but it is not consistent and only when we add numerous exceptions will we be able to get us closer to a more useful rule. However the more we try to accommodate these exceptions, the harder it becomes to remember and then you realize that it really isn’t a rule at all.  A more improved rule might add these following qualifiers:

Addressing the ‘ei’ part of the rule when following a c, we need to add some extra statements to modify this part.

Unless the ‘c’ is part of a ‘sh’ sound as in ‘glacier’ Or it appears in comparatives and superlatives like ‘fancier’ Or to plurals of words ending in ‘–cy’ like bankruptcies, Or to words derived from the Latin root ‘sci’ as in ‘science’, ‘conscience’, ‘prescient’ or ‘omniscient’.

Other exceptions for words that are spelled with e before i are listed as follows:

When the vowel sound is ‘ee’ as in ‘seize’,   Or when the sound is ‘i’ as in ‘height’, Or when some words have an inflectional ending like ‘-ing’ that follows an ‘e’ as in ‘cueing’, Or in compound words as in ‘albeit’, Or occasionally in technical words with strong etymological links to their parent languages as in ‘cuneiform’. Or in other numerous and random exceptions such as ‘forfeit’ and ‘weird’.

I hope that everyone is happy that I cleared this up and everybody should know how to spell the word Reprieve, but if you do have trouble, then you can always use a spell checker.

6 thoughts on “Reprieve

  1. Now, I would have thought that you were a college Professor!
    Do you mind if I call you Professor? Just as Holly Golightly called Paul… Fred.

    I liked your explanation here, and it’s amazing how many people get confused
    when spelling otherwise seemingly simple words…
    Just as people often confuse the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle with
    the Observer Effect which is something that occurs when I am observing
    how males of various ages stare at my flat chest and protruding nipples.

    Keep up the great blog, Professor!


    1. I always thought that I could be a college professor, but I am not and the only thing that I did in the education field was to work as a substitute teacher. Many people get confused when it comes to quantum mechanics and although I am a retired electrical engineer most of the stuff that I know about this subject came from Google when I was writing a book titled, “So You Want To Learn Calculus”. There are many different types of nipples, but I find protruding nipples to be the most interesting. In other countries around the world, men don’t make such a big deal about nipples as they do here in the USA. That is because for us Americans, they are always just out of our view and because of this they become very tempting.


  2. That’s an amazing synchronicity… I was commenting on your blog, at the exact same moment you were commenting on mine! Wow!


  3. Boob size really does not matter to me, although it is much better when you have a matching pair. I think that penis size matters more to women than breast size matters to most men.


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