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June 22, 2009

'i before e, except after c' no longer to be taught

UKflag.jpegAccording to a report in the Daily Telegraph, 'Official guidance distributed to schools across England declares that the rule memorised by generations of children is no longer worth teaching'. The move has provoked outrage from traditional teachers who feel that the rule has helped generations of children.

The official document states that 'the i before e except after c rule is not worth teaching' because there are 'so few words' following it. The rule only applies to words in which "ie" or "ei" stands for a clear "ee" sound. Without knowing that, the rule breaks down, as in the words "sufficient", "veil" and "their". The rule also fails in other ways. In some words, "e" comes before "i", even though there is no "c", as in "heinous", "protein" and "seize". The word "species" also fails to fit.

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