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Terry May
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Feb 23, 2018 3:17 AM
Comments · 8

There's a poem called "The Chaos" by Gerard Nolst Trenité that demonstrates the irregularities of English spelling. I don't wish to post it here due to its length, but it's worth checking out.

Well, I'll post the first few verses:

Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation,
   I will teach you in my verse
   Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.

I will keep you, Susy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
   Tear in eye, your dress you'll tear;
   Queer, fair seer, hear my prayer.

Pray, console your loving poet,
Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
   Just compare heart, hear and heard,
   Dies and diet, lord and word

Anyone interested can find the full poem here:

February 23, 2018
There was a scene in an old “Peanuts” cartoon where Charlie Brown had to learn this ridiculous “rule” and its exceptions. The resulting song is probably the most valuable contribution of the so-called rule. (Entertainment value only — not necessarily educational. Warning: Some of the words shown in the cartoon are misspelled, for example “leisure.”)

February 23, 2018


You've introduced a rule from around 1850 - a rule that never really was a rule, where the exceptions seemed to outnumber the instances where the rule applied.

Some people wisely refer to the "rule?" as a guideline.

Here is a simple, but quite thorough explanation of the ie/ei/c/plus other exceptions guideline:

February 23, 2018
Terry, happily, I didn't know that rule:)))) Sometimes rules only confuse and create a problem where there was not a problem.
February 23, 2018

I remember this QI episode about the "I Before E Except After C" rule:

That's exactly what I think about the spelling rules in English. "But why do we write it this way then?" -- ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

February 23, 2018
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Terry May
Language Skills
English, Spanish
Learning Language