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Ears to the Ground

I’m in the market for a new apartment. I live in New York City, where it’s easier to snag a private box at Yankee Stadium than it is to find a decent, affordable place to hang your hat. I decided to post a note online, asking all of my friends to keep their ears to the ground. Then I paused. Since losing a bitter battle over the phrase “For All Intents and Purposes” – show of hands if you too thought it was “Intensive” – I have paid careful attention to my use of idioms. There’s nothing worse than being *this* close to winning an argument, only to find out that tender hooks aren’t really a thing. I started to experience some serious doubt. Was it ears to the floor? Ears to the door? Ears open? Maybe I should just ask people to listen hard. Fortunately, Google led me here, and confirmed that ears to the ground does, in fact, refer to listening for clues. Until I get a hot tip, you can find me on Padmapper. Fingers crossed for exposed brick.

CategoryLiving, What it Means Tagged , ,
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“I Before E Except After C” Extended

We all know the old adage “I before E, except after C.” We also know that it should be selectively obeyed because it’s not always so simple. I remember having heard a longer version of the rule as a kid, and my friend Parker had heard a different one. Thus, the quest to find the most comprehensive rendition of the poem began.

What I found is that it’s the worst “rule” ever. There are so many exceptions, it’s almost a disservice to teach it to children. I found two versions of the poem that included an extra verse to help cover a few exceptions, but nothing that adequately exposed the small subset of words this law actually applies to. So I took the verses I found, combined them, and added some of my own. This is what I ended up with:

I before E except after C, and when sounding like A as in neighbor or weigh.

Either, neither, leisure, and seize, are exceptions if you please.

Weird is weird, and it makes this rule bunk, and whoever spelled Budweiser the first time was drunk.

…And as if in one final act of defiance, come I-after-C words like conscience and science.

Parker also reminded me of a similar rhyme we—with the help of our roommates—came up with back in college. It went something like this:

O before U except after Q, and when sounding like ‘you.’
…Or in fluoride, buoy, and duo.

We could never figure out how to make that last part rhyme, but even without it, the rule holds up as well as the “i before e” one.

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Excerpt From: I before E (except after C): old-school ways to remember stuff

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CategoryEnglish Tagged , ,