“I” before “E” except after “C” …

Kids are taught a cute little tip to help them spell words that goes like this: “I” before “E” except after “C”. But, then, how do you explain this:

“It is weird how the inadequacies of science weigh so heavily on our society.”


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  1. jananaphone says

    It’s accurate, if I’m not mistaken, roughly half of the time. Though I wouldn’t really use “inadequacies” as an example, seeing as it’s only a pluralisation of “inadequacy.”

  2. You mean “weigh”, not “weighs”, since “inadequacies” is a plural subject.

  3. So, knowing the “I before E except after C” thing vs. arbitrarily guessing–which yields a 50% chance of being right, which is equivalent to “I before E except after C” being right half the time–doesn’t really help.

    I suspect that most common words, the 300-400 that are in the typical average person’s limited vocabulary, do follow the “I before E except after C” hint.

  4. Joe: Yeah, you’re right, it should be “weigh” … which makes the sentence seem even more bizarre than it already is. :-)

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