The post by @vibgyor71 on #readitoutloud inspired me to write this. I wanted to use the word "foreign" and wrote foriegn. Of course it gave a red squiggly below. So I recited the rhyme - "I before E except after C"... and realized the rhyme not only did not hold good here, there were plenty anomalies to it!
The rhyme with the title above- "I before E except after C" is a well known rhyme. It means, when we spell words, when there are words where the alphabets "i" and "e" are used together, the i precedes the e, except if the alphabet before that is a c!
For example : achieve, field, cashier, grief, relieve..... and for the words preceded by C we have : ceiling, deceit, inconceivable, perceive....
However, this is not a steady rule... what about foreign, beige, feign, height, vein...
So clearly, this needs more thinking...just thought I'd put the thought out there.
Also, while scouring the web for some clarity, I found this funny poem on the Webster Dictionary online .
I before e, except after c
Or when sounded as 'a' as in 'neighbor' and 'weigh'
Unless the 'c' is part of a 'sh' sound as in 'glacier'
Or it appears in comparatives and superlatives like 'fancier'
And also except when the vowels are sounded as 'e' as in 'seize'
Or 'i' as in 'height'
Or also in '-ing' inflections ending in '-e' as in 'cueing'
Or in compound words as in 'albeit'
Or occasionally in technical words with strong etymological links to their parent languages as in 'cuneiform'
Or in other numerous and random exceptions such as 'science', 'forfeit', and 'weird'.