Spelling Rules - Words with ie or ei

On this page are rules for spelling words with ie or ei along with examples of words that have the letters ie or ei. The exceptions, or some of them, are noted.

Words with ie  and ei:

When the sound is e write ie except after c


relieve, priest, relief, chieftain, grievous, field, belief, yield, thief, shriek, reprieve, besiege, piece, pierce, cashier, reprieve, brief, sieve, siege, believe

Words after c:

conceit, ceiling, deceive, perceive, receipt, deceit, conceive, receive

When the sound is other than e, usually write ei Words:

eight, rein, veil, heir, weight, their, sleigh, vein, neigh, skein, neighbor, reign, freight, heifer, weir, weigh, foreign, forfeit


There are always exceptions.


friend, mischief, seize, sheik, weird, either, neither, financier, leisure, seize, species, ancient, fierce, lieutenant

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