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After reading questions like Why is it true that "I before E, except after C"?, and searching for the rule on Google, I happened upon the following image:

There are 923 words that break the "i before e" rule. Only 44 words actually follow that rule.

This claims that only 44 out of the 967 English words with E and I next to each other are ordered as according to the rule "I before E except after C, or when sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh". Is it true that ~95% of such words break the popular rule?

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, ScotM, Hellion, Chenmunka, tchrist Apr 11 '15 at 0:37

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    I before e, except after c, or when pronounced as a, as in neighbor and weigh. The two exceptions are actually a part of the rule, and with all three principles applied, the rule is consistent--but not universal. And further principles add accuracy. – ScotM Apr 8 '15 at 20:14
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    @Scot That's not the actual rule either, though it's a frequently heard rhyming version. The actual rule deals only with choosing between <ei> and <ie> as the spelling of stressed /i:/, nothing else. The only exceptions I can think of are (invariably) weir(d) and (with variation) (n)either, leisure, seize and their derivatives. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 8 '15 at 20:22
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    I think I'm going to make up a new, more accurate rhyming version to teach school kids. How about “I before E except after C, when the vowel is stressed, with the sound of key”? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 8 '15 at 20:33
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    @AndrewLeach Which works for most Brits, but partly fails for at least some Americans who pronounce the happy vowel like /i:/ (with length)—hence the stress conditioning. But yes: I before E, except after C, when the vowel is stressed and the sound is E sounds good to me! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 8 '15 at 20:54
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    Wikipedia says that this comes from the fact that a trivia show claimed there are 923 words with cie and only 44 with cei (from a Scrabble word list). This may be true: accuracies, adjacencies, advocacies, agencies, aristocracies, .... – Peter Shor Apr 8 '15 at 20:58