Decoding exercises: "ei"
This rule of thumb is not always true. It should be understood as "I before E except after C if the vowel-sound rhymes with bee". This article explores the "cei" part (and exceptions). For the "ie" part see Decoding exercises: "ie".
- /iː/, after C: ceiling, conceive, deceit, deceive, perceive, receipt, receive
- other: caffeine, leisure,AmE protein, seizure
- /eɪ/: beige, eight, feign, freight, heinous, neighbor,AmE neighbour,BrE reign, sleigh, surveillance /sɜːrˈveɪləns/, vein, weigh, weight
- /aɪ/: height, heighten, kaleidoscope, meiosis, seismic
- /ɪ/: counterfeit, sovereign /ˈsɒvrɪn /
- Two different syllables
- /iːɪ/: being, reimburse, reinforce
- /iːɪ/ or /ɪɪ/: atheist, reiteration
- /eɪə/ or /iːə/: deity, spontaneity
- /eə/: heir /eər/, their
- /ɪə/: weird
- Greg Brooks, Dictionary of the British English Spelling System, page 221, 2015.
- "I before E except after C, and when sounding like A as in neighbor and weigh, and on weekends and holidays and all throughout May, and you'll always be wrong no matter what you say!", Brian Regan, American stand-up comedian.