Studying English words and their spellings can be confusing. One example is the word “niece,” which some misspell “neice.” If you are having trouble with this word, our guide clears the spelling confusion.
Niece Meaning: What Is It?
Did your sibling give birth to a healthy baby girl? Congratulations! You now have a “niece” that will call you aunt (or uncle).
The noun “niece” describes the female child of a person’s brother or sister. English language speakers began to use it around the 14th century. Modern French speakers use the word “nièce,” which has the same meaning.
Before the adoption of “niece” in England, Old English speakers used “nift,” “broðordohter” and “nefene.” These words refer to a person’s granddaughter or any distant female relative. As with many English words, you can trace the word’s roots to Latin, “neptia.”
English speakers also use the term “grandniece” to describe the daughter of a person’s niece in the same way they use “grand” to describe the parents of a person’s parent. The adjective “grand” also comes from France.
In Old English, people alternatively used the word “great-niece.” You might hear or see either word with modern English, especially in the United States, where “grandniece” eventually grew in popularity.
Using Niece in a Sentence
Although knowing the meaning of niece can help you understand its origin and spelling, you also need to review the proper use in sentences before you add it to your day-to-day conversations and writings so that you don’t misuse it. The following five sentences show how to use it.
- Rebecca spent nearly a half hour in the store’s card aisle looking for the perfect birthday card for her favorite niece.
- Jacob loves his three-year-old grandniece so much that he bought her a dozen engineering kits to nurture his niece’s love for building stuff.
- At the barbecue, Angela told her friend that the two women standing next to the pool, her niece and great-niece, lived two states over. They traveled long distance to spend time with family.
- Martin never knew his family. After he bought their old home, he discovered that someone had painted a family tree diagram with branches and roots on the wall. He learned that day that he had more than a dozen nieces and nephews.
- At the start of summer, Melinda invited her great-niece, the daughter of her nephew, to stay with her for a few weeks.
Neice or Niece: How to Spell Niece?
Many English language speakers ask, “What is the meaning of neice?” or “Is it “neice or niece?”
When you need to spell niece, keep in mind that the word has only two spellings that might appear in English. You might see it as “niece” or “nièce.”
Never use any other variations such as “neice,” “nece,” “neece” or “niese” because they are misspellings.
Spelling errors commonly occur because people expect to spell “niece” the same way it sounds. Yet, French language speakers often use “ie” to make the long “e” sound instead of using a single “e” or double “ee.” You can also find “niece” spelled as “nēs,” which causes even more confusion in a pronunciation guide. Always use “niece” or “nièce.”
Trick to Remembering the Spelling
You can find tips online to help you with the niece spelling, but many of these methods can cause more confusion.
For example, someone might recommend that you say to yourself, “Always use I before E except after C.” This tip works great with “niece” because the rule matches the spelling perfectly. It doesn’t work with many other English words, such as “seize,” and many exceptions exist.
Instead, say to yourself, “My niece is a nice person.” Although they sound differently, niece and nice start the same way.
You can also remember: “My niece grabbed the last piece of pizza.” Niece and piece sound the same, which means I spell both with IE.
If you accidentally misspell “niece” as “neice,” you don’t have to beat yourself up. It takes repeated proper usage to correctly spell it (or any word for that matter). Plus, you’re not the only one making the mistake – this word causes problems for many natural speakers. Hopefully, our spelling guide and handy tricks will help you avoid using the misspell version from now on.