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I usually misspell words like "believe" or "receive". For words like these two I would usually google it first to see if I got the spelling right. Is there a pattern for words like these?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The old saying goes like this:

i before e except after c or when sounded like a as in neighbor and weigh

While this rule covers a large number of words, of course, there are a ton of exceptions (neither, height, weird, etc.).

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Thanks. Just what I was looking for. XD Can't believe I missed this. –  Jonn Dec 16 '10 at 0:42
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"seize" is another exception. We learnt the rule as "I before E, except after C, when the sound is EE", which at least means that height/sleight are not exceptions :) –  psmears Jan 14 '11 at 21:14
    
And also "Kiev". –  Mechanical snail Jun 2 '13 at 6:20
    
I'm relatively sure we're not considering proper nouns from non-English speaking countries. –  Dusty Jun 3 '13 at 18:34

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