“i before e”
For some reason, people in some countries are taught a “rule” of spelling (as if there were any) that says
I before E / Except after C
or something similar.
A stupid “rule”. We were never taught it, and with good reason, I’m sure.
Here’s a Slashdot post (attribution when I find it — I copied it down and the search engines haven’t picked it up yet…):
I could feign a plebeian ignorance, but I inveigh your deceiving sleights. By seeing correspondence I’ve received, including eight receipts from my leisure activities and a weird lein on my sovereign freight sleigh, a weighty surveillance can be unveiled: SOMETIMES E COMES BEFORE I!
Now, where are my reindeer?! (for my sleigh!!)
Signed, der Weihnachtsmann
There’s an even better version at a page titled The I Before E Deceit Unveiled:
Just when we fancied that spelling had become a science, a prescient foreign geisha woman named Deirdre Oppenheimer came down from the heights of a glacier, tore off her veil, seized an ancient financier, and shamed our consciences grievously. “This society is inefficient!”, she inveighed. “I wasted my leisure becoming proficient in cuneiform hieroglyphs. Either reimburse me with the value of the Einstein coefficient, or I will drag this man back to my hacienda in Muncie, wherein he will forfeit his life!”
I feigned interest, but looked for our feisty concierge Neil, whom I might inveigle into reining in this weird being. But he had gone to Anaheim, Beijing, Madeira and Taipei with Alexei to shop for a beige geiger counter. His absenteeism made me feel like queueing for the exit, but the only sound was the neighing of the sheik’s eight reindeer, chewing their edelweiss.
I turned to Sheila, the Budweiser heiress. “Cease your surveillance of the sleigh and its freight! We must stop the reign of this plebeian atheist!” I must have hit a vein, because she deigned to put down her counterfeit kaleidoscope proficiently, albeit only to point out a weird Klein bottle full of nucleic proteins. “Therein is the skein of meiosis,” she said, “the leitmotif of our species, of seismic importance to our homogeneity. It would surfeit a meistersinger, a sovereign, or even an omniscient deity like Poseidon.”
Decreeing my obeisance, I offered the paperweight, a Meisterbrau stein, and a Holstein heifer to the heister. Agreeing that it was sufficient, she reinstated the old wisenheimer, fleeing with spontaneity via Boeing to Beirut.