You had many friends. Many fans. Like Mrs. Rogers, a 2nd grade teacher at Riker Hill Elementary in Livingston, NJ, who once said, “Follow this rule, and you’ll be the next Shel Silverstein.”* We gather here today to pay tribute and respect to the “I before E, except after C” rule. Grammar police in the UK have decreed that you are “no longer worth teaching” because not enough words actually follow your lead.
Excuse me? Not enough words my arse. I recite this rule in my head a couple times a week and it never seems to fail me. Not enough words… Bupkis I say. I’m crying fowl. Foul I say! Fowel. Next you’re gonna say there’s an “I” in “Team”.
I was always under the impression that English was a funky language because it has all of these exceptions to the rules. The trick is learning those exceptions. Or, alternatively, letting your spell checker correct your spelling errors for you. The “I before E, except after C” rule is one of the best for the sole reason that many words DO follow it. Let’s not give up on it yet.
*I don’t believe she ever said that.