I have just learned the most horrible news: I’m dumb. I am, apparently, the product of a misguided education where we were taught falsehoods and lies.
What has me in such a tither? Well according to Stephen Fry on QI, the ‘I before E except after C’ is no longer taught in school because in the English language there are, in fact, more cases of the opposite being true.
There are, according to Mr Fry, 923 English words which don’t abide by this rule, 21 times as many words that break the rule than don’t. Seriously, if we were going to discard rules simply because more people don’t follow them than do half our road rules would be gone in a flash.
It’s only been 26 years since I was in school (straight face). What else have they gone and changed? Next thing you’ll be telling me I can’t teach my kids the difference between principle and principal by explaining the principal is your pal (I always thought this rule was more the punchline to a little English teacher joke).
Not that I think all these things matter anymore. I have a son in university who I’m pretty sure can’t spell university. There are letters dropping out of words all over the place these days – ‘are’ lost an ‘a’ and an ‘e’ and is reduced to just ‘r’. Texts with my kids are awash with OMG, LOL, ROFL, BRB, GTG and FYI’s. I mean, WTF?
Anyway, I’m not lying (unlike my teachers!). See for yourself: