Spelling rules: I before E

Remember this English spelling rule

Spelling rules: I before E, except after C

There are many spelling rules within the English language and it can be difficult to remember them all. However, here is a simple way to remember the spelling of words that have the vowels ‘I’ and ‘E’, such as field and receive.

The rule that you need to remember for these spellings is: I before E, except after C, unless it sounds like A (e.g. neighbour, weigh).

I before E
Here are some examples of words that are spelt ‘ie’:

I believe it was the dog that ate the meat.

Do you want a piece of cake?


The students all hoped to achieve good grades on their exams.

Except before C
Here are some examples of words that are spelt ‘cei’:

How did the dog leave footprints on the ceiling?


I didn’t receive your present in the post yesterday, maybe it will come today.

The shop assistant gave the boy his change and receipt.

Unless it sounds like A
Here are some examples of words that are spelt ‘ei’:

My father’s favourite colour is beige.

My next door neighbours are always really loud.

The doctor weighed the boy to see if he was a healthy weight.

Weighing Scales

This rule should be considered as a guideline, because there are some words that do not follow this rule, such as: height, either, leisure, science and foreign.