A-to-Z Challenge Day 3 – C Is a Useless Letter


I love reading, writing, and language. I don’t care for the idea of learning how to spell.

I don’t say this out of any basis in not being able to spell; I’m a darned good speller and there are very few occasions where I get a word’s particular order of letters mixed up.

But I don’t like the idea of spelling because there really are no such thing as rules for spelling. To learn spelling, you must actually just learn to memorize the way a word is spelled. If you think back to how you first learned how to read and were taught the sounds that letters make are ___, then you might also remember how frustrating it was to come across letters that completely spat on those rules, alone or in combination with other alphabetical companions, and you had to try and learn new rules all over again.

“I before E
Except after C,
Unless pronounced A
As in ‘neighbor’ or ‘weigh'”

Education is forfeit for reinforcing such rules!
Sound a feisty reveille while eyeing the schools!
Neither will our heirs be agreeing to deceptions
Once seeing, herein, these sufficient exceptions:

We were seized by a feeling
For fleeing on the ceiling
To a leisurely meal
With Keith, Sheila, and Neil

We drank madeira, so foreign, in steins
Along with a surfeit of weird blueish wines
Being foolish, took codeine, ate ancient proteins
Therein guaranteeing these ogreish scenes

Wherein we’re canoeing to a new sovereign state
While deicing a kaleidoscope on a hot jadeite plate
And kneeing obeisance to an overseeing king
Our plebeian lips kissed his counterfeit ring.

Then we unveiled their sleight-of-hand trick
Deifying a heifer, with effect atheistic
And falling from the heights with a loud seismic crunch
We reignited the nonpareils we had heisted for lunch.

So I before E
Except after C
Unless pronounced A?
False decreeing, I say!
Poem by Jef Raskin — includes about 51 exceptions to the rule!

“I before E except after C”… Except in words like conscience, prescient, omniscient, or science…

Letters have one job: to be a symbol that represents a particular sound.

That’s it.

Within that, however, there are all kinds of not-really-rules-but-more-like-guidelines rules in how words should be constructed from these tiny squiggles.

English Pronunciation

The letter C is a waste of a good squiggle and my feelings about this are why I think that it’s only good for anything when paired up with an ‘h’ to make a “chuh” sound, such as in the word church. C doesn’t have a sound of its own. It either sounds like a K or like an S. So why then is it there?

C of course isn’t the only letter that’s guilty, or my only objection to how spelling is a nonsensical thing.


This reminds me of spelling things in Welsh

Well, my invented language is phonetic and because I set it up that way, I was able to eliminate that useless character from words I wanted to have a kuh or ss sound. For my language, I blissfully pair up CH so that I never have to have people wonder how words are pronounced once some ground rules for pronunciation are memorized.

I feel happy about that.

I just wish the rest of the world could come to this understanding too and get rid of C. 😛


14 thoughts on “A-to-Z Challenge Day 3 – C Is a Useless Letter

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting 🙂

      And yes, letters are just weird.

      Beyond the basics, it just gets into memorization.

      “F sounds like this *pushing air through your slightly pursed lips and teeth to make the customary ‘effhhh’ sort of sound*”

      Unless it’s like a ‘v’ when you say “of”…

      Then come all the other words where ‘f’ has the sound of a ‘v’ 😛


  1. I am at the stage where I am realizing how difficult this letter is because I’m teaching my son to read. He knows all the letters and the sounds they make, but understanding why C sounds like K and even gets put with K sometimes (huh?) is going to be a tough one to explain. I like your idea of doing away with it unless it is connected to an H as in “cherry.” That would make my life a lot easier 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. English is a tough language to learn. Completely agree that C is superfluous, so is Q.

    Enjoyed your tongue in cheek (what exactly are the ue doing there after the g?) take on C

    Ninja Minion A-Z 2016

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do feel your pain. But because I’ve studied the history of the language…I am actually rather attached to our weird spellings. They so often tell a story of origins and travails!

    Just dropping in as I work my way through the A to Z blogs!


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