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A more complete rule is:

"i" before "e" except
- after "c",
- in words where it sounds like long "a", or
- in words that are weird or foreign,
- and scientific words often do not follow the rules.

"i" goes before "e" in words like the following: believe, chief, field, niece, relief, sieve, and yield.

Some exceptions containing the long "a" are the usually-noted neighbor and weigh. Some more are: freight, vein, veil, geisha, sheik, and dreidel. The last three fall under the "foreign" clause even if you like to pronounce them with a long "e" sound.

The word weird is weird. 'nuff said.

The word foreign is, well, foreign. So are recent arrivals to the language, such as leisure and its ilk, from French*, and sheila, an Aussie slang word for "girl".

The word science doesn't follow the original "except after-c" rule. And caffeine, codeine, protein, and other words with the "-eine" or "-ein" ending and a long "e" sound are other scientific exceptions in the other direction.

* TheFreeDictionary notes that leisure comes from Middle English, from Norman French leisour, from Old French leisir meaning "to be permitted", from Latin licre. In terms of language, this is recent. At least, it is recent enough that the spelling has not changed to match the rule. Of course, you might be rightfully getting the impression that this rule is not much of a rule, given the hefty list of exceptions.

But then again, this is the English language. 'nuff said.
They require I use i before e in a sentence to enter this information.
by LaWeezel November 13, 2006
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....except for words that have the pronouncation "ay" in them.
by James November 18, 2003
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The common rule in spelling that many, including myself from time to time, have forgotten.
I before E, except after C.
by LarstaiT November 12, 2003
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If the word rhymes with bee put i before e
You should use i before e if the word rhymes with bee as in "I believe that he grieves" but not in "you weigh the sleigh"
by rasty May 10, 2006
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A simple rule that remind all ignorant people of their life philosophy. I before E. I before everyone. Me before everyone else. It is being instilled into the minds of young children all over the world. This simple little rule "I before E" seems harmless but is the cause of all our problems. Presidents,CEO's,Doctors,Bus drivers even Teachers! All corrupted by the innocent little rhyme they learned in elementary school. Little did they know it would cause them to only care about themselves first and others second.

Also is apples new mindcontrol device coming soon.

iBeforee- The next generation of brainwashing, to be installed in headphones to slowly lull user in to having crazy and unimaginable thoughts. such as believing that Macs are in fact better than PC's (Crazy!!). America getting out of this recession (Insane!!). And lastly, believing soulja boy is a decent rapper (OMG!! UNBELIEVEABLE!!)
Obama- Fuck healthcare, Im not gonna do shit! HAHAHa I before E muthafuckas!!!

Dr. Morris- I dont care if your on the verge of death. Nigga i need to get paid! I before E negro!

CEO- Who cares if my workers are underpaid,starving and on the verge of bankrupcy. And if the business's i take over cause hundreds to lose their jobs. Nigga im about to pay myself an extra 100k. Hell yea! I before E beyotch!
by -TheRealMiC November 05, 2009
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