Spelling 08 - EI or IE?
We all enjoy the fascinating world of the English language, with all its diversities and contradictions. Spellings and pronunciations are integral parts of the language that might sometimes put you off completely. Just think about the pronunciation and spelling of the word COUGH and also the word BOUGH. Both have similar spellings but are pronounced very differently. The letters E and I, when placed together, can also be confusing.
We frequently come across words such as ORIENTAL and UNVEIL and begin to wonder why the order of the letters E and I is different in the words. There are other words such as DECEIVE and FREQUENCIES where the order of E and I is different. Certain rules can be framed for us to follow so that some clarity is seen:
Generally the rule is I before E except after C. But two of the four words that are given as examples break the rule. As always, there are exceptions to every rule!
When the word with the letters E and I has an E or EE pronunciation, then the rule is broken, as in the case of UNVEIL.
Similarly, in the case of the letters coming directly after the letter C, when it is to be E before I, there is an exception when the word is formed from a root word with CY ending. FREQUENCIES is formed from the root word FREQUENCY by adding the suffix IES after removing the Y. In such cases the C rule does not hold.
The C rule also does not hold in words such as DEFICIENT or SCIENCE. The only way to get to terms with the use of the letters E and I is to use them as often as possible. Take the quiz that follows to become more familiar with some of the words spelt with EI or IE.