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The Grammar Guru

The (1) chief of police rubbed his head and leaned back in his chair. He couldn't (2) believe how hard it was to get a handle on this (3) thief. What a (4) relief it would be when they got the guy.

You had to hand it to him, though; no other crook in the town's history had ever been so successful. In the past two months, he'd broken into two dress shops, four homes, and a hardware store, getting away with tons of valuables. Just who was this shark?

Winnie, the chief's (5) niece and office assistant (the first position accounted for the second), had a theory. "I think it takes someone who's more than smart to (6) achieve such success," she told her uncle. "If I were you, I'd narrow down the (7) field of suspects to those who reek of courage."

The chief had nodded and changed the subject. If he didn't owe all that money to his sister, his niece's mother, who also caused him (8) grief, he'd tell the two of them to take a hike. Meanwhile, he popped a few aspirin and closed his eyes.

Remember: these words always present "i" before "e": chief, believe, thief, relief, niece, achieve, field, grief.



1. When the (chief/cheif) of the tribe realized he was never going to reach his (field/feild) of dreams, he resigned.

2. "I (believe/beleive) the (theif/thief) will experience much (grief/greif) when he realizes I'd have given him what he took, if he'd just asked," the shrink told the reporter.

3. "Now that you have agreed to share the meaning of life with me, my (relief/releif) is enormous," the disciple told the yoga.

4. Mother Goose's (neice/niece) started a family war when she began publishing stories of her own.



1. chief/field (Apparently, it was too much to ask to be featured on PBS, as his brother-in-law the slug had been.)

2. believe/thief/grief (The shrink didn't really believe what he said; he just hoped his words would bring him more clients. What, shrinks aren't human?)

3. relief (The yoga bowed his head and put out his hand for a donation. "Meaning" often carries a price.)

4. niece ("Relativity" can be such a problem.)

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