If you’re not sure whether “i” comes before “e,” or why fraught doesn’t rhyme with draught, there’s a good reason: English spelling doesn’t make sense.
Well, actually, it does, but English is a conglomeration of other languages, so different words follow different sets of rules. In German, for example, the second vowel in a two-vowel combination determines the pronunciation. So the word stein is pronounced “stīn.” But when that same vowel combination is used in the word eight, it is pronounced with an ā sound—because eight traces its origins to the Latin word octavus, and the long ā sound came from there. The English language is fraught with these conflicting sets of rules.
So, yes, English spelling is confusing, as Ed Rondthaler demonstrates in this two-minute video:
If you want to make sure your spelling is correct, as well as your grammar and usage, there’s no shame in asking for help. At the very least, email LifeLines and ask for the one-page Proofreading Tool I put together to help people catch the most glaring errors. As Ed Rondthaler might say, failing to invest financially in your writing is just plain dum!