Here's a question we hear frequently:
If English words do not end in I, U, V, or J, how do you explain the "u" at the end of the word "you"?
Spelling Rule 3 states that English words do not end in I, U, V, or J. There are three true exceptions: the pronouns you, thou, and I.
Overall, about 98% of English words completely follow the phonograms and spelling rules taught in Logic of English. This leaves about 2% of English words that contain some spelling or sound that breaks one of the rules. Spelling Rule 3 is quite consistent; it is only these three very old English words that do not follow the pattern. The oldest words in English (as in other languages) are where irregular forms are most likely to be found.
We help students remember this by telling them, "You and I are very special."
The spellings of you and I are taught in both Foundations and Essentials, as well as in Sounding Out the Sight Words. In each case, students learn the spellings after the needed phonics concepts (the phonogram OU for you, and the Spelling Rule "I and Y may say /ĭ/ or /ī/ at the end of a syllable for I) are introduced. These words are completely phonetic, so they are easy to decode, but their spellings are unusual in that these letters are not normally used at the end.
Note: There are also many loan words borrowed from other languages that end in I, U, V, or J (which is why Rule 3 specifies that English words do not end in these letters). Knowing this rule makes it easy to spot them. Even young children can quickly recognize that a word is a foreign loan word (menu, tofu, spaghetti, alumni) or an abbreviation (flu, taxi) if it ends in I, U, V, or J. Often when they learn this rule they begin noticing words that end in these letters and asking to look them up and find out what language they are from!
You can learn more about loan words on our blog: What is the difference between a loan word and an English word with foreign roots?