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Words with "-ie-" or "-ei-."

The old rule -- "i" before "e," except after "c," or when sounded as "a," as in "neighbor" and "weigh" -- generally holds. But there are many exceptions, such as "counterfeit," "either," "feisty," "forfeit," "height," "leisure," "seize," "their," and "weird." Several words of foreign (especially German) derivation also violate the rule, such as "Fahrenheit," "meister," and "zeitgeist" -- as well as words in which the "-i-" and "-e-" are both pronounced, such as "deity," "society," and "spontaneity." The "except-after-c" proviso also has its exceptions, such as "concierge" and "financier."

Source: Garner's Usage Tip of the Day

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