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30 days hath September...

The more vivid the phrase, the better it will help you remember. Exaggerate, use all the senses, vivid colours and humour will help too. Rude rhymes are easy to remember - just don't say them out too loudly.

Wordplay includes the rhymes and abbreviations you learn at school. It's particularly good for linking information that's quite hard or complex. Popular ones:
'Thirty Days Hath September, April June and November'.
Richard of Yorke Gave Battle in Vain (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)

You can use mnemonics to help you remember the spelling of tricky words, the names of people at a dinner party or your children's friends names. Rhyming mnemonics are especially good because the sound and structure helps keep the words in the right order.

Do you have a favourite phrase that helps you remember something? Why not try to create a mnemonic for something you often forget and let us know how you get on.


How useful do you find wordplay?

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Rhymes and Mnemonics

How useful is this tip?

  1. Useful
  2. Not very useful

Total votes: 57

This is not a representative poll and the figures do not purport to represent public opinion as a whole on this issue


Rhymes are a very good way of remembering things. There is a problem with mnemonics if they are long of remembering them.

Linda M
Just a couple my kids remember from their Junior School: Birds Eat Crumbs After Uncle Stops Eating, capital letters spell "because". One collar, two sleeves, reminds them to spell "necessary"

How about this for a mnemonic: A Bloody Daft Excuse For Doing Late Belfasts On An Early! Any cabin crew member, working for a well known airline, should remember that one. A:Acknowledge B:Brief D:Demo E:Exits F:Final cabin secure checks D:Dim cabin lights L:Landing positions B:Brace O:Open A:Assist E:Evacuate

I usually forget the mnemonic! But there are some good examples in 'comments'.

My science teacher (Mrs Denning) used - Men Very Easily Make Jugs. Serve Useful New Purposes - for the names of the planets in order from the sun.

My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets (mercury, venus, earth, mars, jupiter, saturn, uranus, neptune and pluto)

Very useful technique. SID is for: Systolic blood pressure is the top one, Diastolic is the bottom one. and stalecTites come from the Top and stalagMites from the bottoM and read out your green book in verse -rainbow colours- red orange green blue indigo violet and I always use the rhyme for days of the month and it never fails

Tom Walsh
Heard at a Gervase Phinn talk - a child had made up for diar...Dead In A Rolls Royce Having Over Eaten Again And my own for remembering the complementary colours Blue/Orange Red/ Green Yellow/Purple is "Buy Our Really Good Yorkshire Puddings"

I've read some of the comments regarding how to remember the number of days in the months of the year, but they all seem long winded to me, the knuckles method works, just as the famous "30 days hath..." Mnemonic does, but I simply remember the acronym SAJN "Sounds a little like sergeant I suppose" Sept - April - June - November all these months have 30 days, the rest (bar february of course) have 31! No more counting knuckles!

20 years ago my chemistry teacher told us to make up a sentence to help us remember the Electrochemical series. I can still remember my sentence now, and more surprisingly, I can remember the series too...poisonous snakes can make a zulu ill then leave him chasing many sick goats...potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, aluminium, zinc, iron, tin, lead, hydrogen, copper, mercury, silver, gold. Andy Pandy helped me remember that the Anode is Positive (therefore the cathode must be negative). OIL RIG reminded me that Oxidation Is Loss (of electrons), Reduction Is Gain (of electrons).

O level chemistry 15 years ago, trying to remember the order for how reactive elements were. I cant even remember what it's called, the activity series or something! But i can still remember it! Kermit never courted Miss Piggy although zanier frogs perhaps craved her amorous affections: K, Na, Ca, Mg, Al, Zn, Fe, Pb, Cu, Hg, Ag, Au

Karen Morgan
This is so interesting, as some of these I have never heard. The one I always remember from my Physics teacher at secondry school. 'The Live Brown Bear Looked at the Neutral Blue Sky from the Green and Yellow Earth' for remebering how to wire a plug. I think the wires have since changed maybe the Neutral but I always found this very useful.

David Irvine
Mnemonics are excellent for learning to spell some of the words which are frequently misspelled such as 'necessary'- N-never E-eat C-cake E-eat S-salmon S-sandwiches A-and R-remain Y-young. The sillier the mnemonic the better for the memory.

Stuart McCulloch, Ballarat (Australia)
The missus and I were trying to create a planetary order mnemonic for her brother. Along the way, she came up with: Many very elderly men just survive until next pension(day). We can spell beautiful, but has anyone come up with a mnemonic for mnemonic?

This is a brilliant technique. To this day, I can write out the periodic table by using a silly sounding sentance that my chemistry teacher told me.

Ken Toye
I link your useful notes on rhyming techniques with music. The best advice to give is, "learn it in a song". Children learn songs at the drop of a hat and these go quickly into Long Term Store. Children used to learn the same nursery songs and,thus, have a shared vocabulary. Our multi-cultural society does not guarantee this. What we can do is to adapt the songs of other countries for general use. English nursery songs have very repeatable melodies,are easy to sing and can be adapted to language learning. "Mary had a little lamb" can easily become "Mary(Yasmin)had a little computer".All right! but I am serious, Ken

I have just taught my little girl "Never Eat Shredded Wheat" which is North, East, South, West - she thinks it's hilarious but it has stayed with me these years and she still remembers too.

alice piper
i think it was very usefull

never eat cakes eat sardine sandwiches and remain young. I was taught this at secondary school by a very good english teacher the first letter of each word make up the correct spelling of necessary

In the treble clef the lines are egbdf: every good boy deserves favour, and the spaces are a "face"

The mnemonic I was taught at to school to help spell 'beautiful' was: Big Elephants Are Useful To Indians For Unloading Logs

The teacher taught the class the usual mnemonic for BECAUSE. Alas it often came out as "Big elephants can always understand little elephants!" instead of "small" elephants!! (I'm not sure how you get round that except with constant correction!)

I use ROY G BIV as a rainbow mnemonic, and for music, the famous ones: Every Good Boy Deserves Football & (I'm from Glasgow) Glasgow Busses Drive Fast Always, which I find usefull.

I'm a teaching assistant and work with children who are dyslexic.To help the children succeed in their weekly spelling tests I use the mnemonics stategy and the kids are falling about laughing as we invent a sentence to help them. It's huge fun and I would tell anyone to give it a go. Just keep it fun and you too will succeed, well after you can compose yourself from the giggles!

I always try to link to whatever my mind drifts off to in exams, like food etc (sandwich becomes bap becomes FAP, force= area x pressure) For pivots i though up some long winded thing about how if you're further away from chocolate (distance) your unhappiness rating was higher (weight)

My one for spelling 'beautiful' Big Eggs Are Useful To Indians For Unusual Lunches.

Mnemonics can be useful it's true but what happens when you remember the mnemonic perfectly but forget what it applied to?I remember learning in Biology class the mnemonic for the sensory nerves.I can remember it still 45 years later - Old Oliver Octopus Ate Trifle And Fell A Groaning Victim.Unfortunately the only ones I can still identify are 'olfactory' and 'auditory'!

Mnemonics can be useful it's true but what happens when you remember the mnemonic perfectly but forget what it applied to?I remember learning in Biology class the mnemonic for the sensory nerves.I can remember it still 45 years later - Old Oliver Octopus Ate Trifle And Fell A Groaning Victim.Unfortunately the only ones I can still identify are 'olfactory' and 'auditory'!

I was taught "Silly Old Hippos Can Always Have Tons Of Afters" to remember my Trigonometric functions at school. Silly Old Hippos: sin = opposite/hypotenuse Can Always Have: cos = adjacent/hypotenuse Tons Of Afters: tan = opposite/adjacent.

Another way to remember how to spell because: big elephants can't always use small escalators!

The squar on the hippotomus hide is equal to the sum of the squars on the other 2 hides! . Math teacher taught us this ( or some approximation of it) to remember how to measure triangles or something Pythagorian. But what it really meant was lost on me as i never could really remember how to work out the answer.

I don't find mneumonics useful, but I always play with the words. I think my mum taught me it because we've got quite a lot of them for example things to do before school, I don't actually use them any more, but I've used the principle to make up my own for things like my school subject timetable and it has helped massively to make it into a littly rhyme thing.

I always have to think "Rhythm Has Your Tiny Hands Moving". And a few more to do with spellings, though I can't recall them right now...

I still remember things from School using this method. e.g. the colour sequence of the rainbow/spectrum; Roy G Biv Red, orange, yellow, Green, Blue, indigo and violet

walter Harris
I was taught mnemonics at school 65 years ago to remember methods of working. For example: BODMIN. Algebraic equation. Brackets etc... Lyrical lines are a good way to remember: 'Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred and ninety two' In my early years I learned 'times tables' by rythmic chanting in unison with the class each morning. 'two twos are four' 'eight twos are six-teen' [iambic pentameter?] 'nine twos are eight-teen' I remember a pin with pictures of events representing the numbers or historic events. World war one began - 1914 for example.

Andrea, Solihull
I can never spell "Necessary" but I can remember Never Eat Cakes Eat Salmon Sandwiches And Remain Young.

I still remember the 'Mohs' scale of hardness I learnt in a Geology lesson. The Girls Can Flurt And Other Queer Things Can Do. Talc, Gypsum, C?, Flourspar, Anth - Orthoclass, Quartz, T, Carbonsomthing, Anne Diamond. Well, sort of still remember!

Mandy Winter
This is a useful one.

I have used this method a lot and it works well

This is an excellent way to remember things - but I am totally incapable of doing it for myself. For my Chemistry O level 20 odd years ago, a friends did this for me for all the chemical symbols - and to this day I can still remember "It's a Sin to sit on tin" (chemical symbol for tin Sn).

Another trigonometry mnemonic I was taught at school was "Silly Old Hitler Caused Awful Havoc To Our Armies" (Sin = Opp/Hyp, Cosine = Adj/Hyp, Tan = Opp/Adj). I often devise rude or amusing mnemonics to help me remember lists for my actuarial exams, but I feel I ought to spend a little less time developing them and a little more time doing some proper studying!

I use this to some extent, but I've noticed that my daughter 8 uses it a lot, especially with a tune. If I need her to learn something then I find a 'song' version of what ever it is. She learnt her alphabet by listening to a song and now her timestables.

Such mnemnics are useful at medical school (although with time and practice the rhymes become largely redundant). For example, a polite way of remembering cranial nerves: "On Old Olympus Towering Top, A Fin And German Viewed A Hop" (Olfactory, Optic, Oculomotor, Trochlear, Trigeminal, Abducens, Facial, Auditory, Glossopharyngeal, Vagus, Accessory, Hypoglossal).

Where are all the doctors? They have wonderful, bawdy mnemonic for remembering their anatomy: Old Officers Often Pay Tenpence and F A Glorious Virgin (cranial nerves: Olfactory, Optic, Occulomotor, Patheticus, Trigeminal, Abducens, Glossopharyngeal, Vagus); Lady Dorothy lies between two majors (Location of the Latissimus Dorsi); but what does "Two Zulus B-d My Cat" refer to?
I am notoriusly bad at remembering appointments. If I don't write it down in a diary or put on mobile calendar it won't happen. Even then I have to remember to look in my diary, not switch off mobile alarm and forget 2 mins later. My other problem is as a performance poet - I have had a mental block forever about memorising lines for performance - I have to (like your man who can't memorise lyrics) have them written in front of me. This is a psychological block too I think going back to a school performance....wish I could beat that one. Actually I can always remember lyrics really easily - if there is music with words the tune and words stick together. In the 60s I effortlessly remembered all the Beatles lyrics after hearing a song a couple of times. I still remember them - just play the opening bars and I'm off....

Sue C
My very easy method just speeds up naming planets (mercury, venus, earth, mars, jupiter, saturn, neptune, pluto) - easier than some of the earlier comments! I sat on seagull's cliff eating lumpy egg sandwiches (isosceles) The orange alligator sat on her cornflakes and hiccupped (TOA SAH CAH) How I wish I could calculate pi quickly (3.1415927 pi correct to 7dp if you count the number of letters in the words) Big elephants can't always use small entrances (because) Naughty elephants squirt water (NESW compass points)

Here's one for Geological Ages: Camels Ordinarily Sit Down Carefully, Perhaps Their Joints Creak. (Cambrian, Ordivician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceus.) I fall asleep in the Tertiary.

Carole Swindells
I finally remembered my number plate by using a silly term VGE - became - Very Good Excelent.

Yes, this technique works well if the mnemonic is good. I always remember what is on the left in sailing by the statement "Red (a pirate) left port", which reminds me that the red light is always on the left (port) side. I never heard a good one for the starboard (right) side, so only remember that it's everything that Port(left) is not (ie: right, green, starboard). Unfortunately, I repeate the phrase in my head every time I hear the word Port!

My very easy method just speeds up naming planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter...

A school friend mad on astronemy gave me a mnemonic for the planets when we were only 7 which I have never forgotten: Most Volcanoes Erupt Mulberry Jam Sandwiches Under Normal Pressure.

i've always tried this-i haven't yet found a phrase to help me remember the planets in their order from the sun-maybe i'll try it backwards

My wordplay helps me to remember customers with unmemorable faces, or infrequent visits to ous engraving business. I often find a word associated with a feature of their face or body language that fits/rhymes with their name. One chap is called Hayes and I remember him because he seems to fade into the background when he's here, as in "haze". Another customer had a part of their finger missing. She ordered for a Banger club, so I could imagine the hammer and her finger in the same picture. Her name came naturally with the club name after that. Another, Mr Helps, had very bad breath, so I don't really want to help him, not closely anyway. All sorts of ways are good.

I was taught Rinse Your Greasy Bottles Out In Vim for the rainbow. Unfortunately the younger generation will not have heard of Vim.... My trigonometry was much improved by She Only Had / Curly Auburn Hair / Till Old Age.

John Cockett
I am a second year psychology student at teesside University who has studied and practised mnemonics for 3 years. For remembering countries and their capitals for instance I think of an unususl picture for e.g. The capital of Jordan is Amman so I think of the model Jordan with a man or similarly the country Benin has the capital Porto Novo so I think of my friend Ben-in his nova car.

I find rhythm really helpful, but I also sometimes use melody to help; words set to music somehow just stay in my head, where they wouldn't do so without the tune. I make up little jingles to fit the words, numbers, or whatever sequence of items I'm trying to remember. As a child I learned to distinguish left and right by rehearsing to myself which hand plays the low notes on the piano; still do it today! (Looks like a kind of feeble Tommy Cooper impression - just like that.)

Lis Gray
Sailors use it too to help with navigation... True Virgins Make Dull Company ... For turning a true course on the chart to compass course to steer, (by adding variation and deviation.) When going back the other way .. Cabury's Dairy Milk Very Tastey... It works for me as long as it is sometinh I use regulalry .. otherwise a rmember the rhyme but can't recall the words !

I recently have been studying anatomy and a friend taught me this word play for the bones in the wrist: Some Lovers Try Positions That They Can't Handle. for: Scaphoid Lunate triquetrum Pisiform Trapezium Trapezoid Capitate Hamate Though everytime I go through them I wonder, if you removed the capitate from someone's wrist, would it be correct to say that you had decapitated them?

I have found this really useful from my school days and it sticks! Spelling is useful. I made a mnemonic of the word 'necessary' - never eat cress eat salmon sandwiches and remain young. Also the order of the Planets - Men very easily make jugs serve useful necessary purposes. (mercury, venus, earth, mars, jupiter, saturn, uranus, neptune and pluto). May seem strange but really works.

Reading through the comments I happened noticed that Simon had quoted a rhyme wrong. There were 3 on the cornflake packet when we went decimal in everything. It's still easier to equate the sizes to old measures even though the change happened when I was about 10. A litre of water's a pint and three quarters A metre measures 3 ft 3 it's longer than a yard you see. 2 and a quarter pounds of jam weigh about a kilogram

RHYTHM - Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move. Easy, really!

Sarah Moloney
My mother, when young and at school, was taught about Hannibal crossing the Alps with elephants. She tried to remember his name using "cannibal". Alas, when the teacher wanted to know who crossed the Alps with elephants, my mother gleefully answered "Havage"!, which probably caused the teacher great confusion. "Savage" had replaced "Cannibal" in her memory and led her astray. When I want to remember a list, eg things from the shop, I count how many items are on it and then I know if I have forgotten anything. I don't know why this helps me remember which items I need though. Also, why do I remember phone numbers so easily when I am not a very numerate person? I don't choose to do this, it just happens. Sometimes I picture the buttons and mentally play the beeps phone numbers make but this is with known numbers, not to learn them; just a sort of occupying activity (sad,I know). I think I best remember things I have heard, rather than read.

My father always made me look at a word I had written down after he'd spelt it for me. This means I now don't need to remember clever tricks, I can just see if a word is spelt correctly. Of course that means that I still have to write down words to be certain of the spelling but I find I can even picture it if I just write it with an invisible pen in the air just in front of me. One of the best things I was taught was that the possessive of "it" is "its" with no apostrophe, just like "his". "It's" is the shortened version of "it is". However I do believe this has probably added to my annoyance with intrusive apostrophes!

Nearly 40 years on I can still remember "Dic had a duc with fer on its back; and that's a fac" which lists all the irregular Latin singular imperatives. It's probably rather more than 30 years since I last used a singular imperative in anger, so yes, wordplay works very well when appropriate, but it's of limited application.

handy for remembering Latin use of verbs followed by the ablative absolute rather than the accusative!!!! also the varied meaning of 'malus' malus I would rather be malus than an apple tree malus than a wicked man malus in eternity (I think that's right!!)

The old mnemonic for stellar classes was "Oh Be A Fine Girl Kiss Me Right Now" (OBAFGKMRN) from bright to less bright. That changed when they dropped the RN classes, and has changed again to reflect the new class L stars - "Oh Be A Fine Girl Kiss My Lips". My personal contribution was inspired by the coverage of the ceremony of Trooping the Colour on the Queen's official birthday. The commentator informed us that the five regiments of foot guards were easily distinguished because the buttons on their tunics were grouped in order of seniority. That is, the oldest regiment (Grenadiers) had buttons placed singly on the tunic and the youngest (Welsh) had buttons arranged in groups of five. The order of seniority (Grenadiers, Coldstream, Scots, Irish, Welsh) prompted the mnemonic "Golden Carp Swim In Water". An aide to memory I have never used.

emily w
I had a great way to remember the order of sharps and flats on the piano, again using mnenomics: Father Christmas Gave Dad An Electric Blanket (Sharps FCGDAEB) Blanket Exploded And Dad Got Cold Feet (Flats BEADGCF). If somethings funny its always easier to remember! For my physics A-level i used all sorts of mnenomics to remember the various complicated formulas, some of which were kinda rude bu it didnt matter because it made me remember them. If somethings rude or funny, you'll remember it. And something i even use now to spell the word BECAUSE is "Bad Eggs Cause An Upset Stomach Easily". Works a treat :-)

Kamal Tripathi
well yes I now rem my school days when I learn Periodic Table in Chemistry, sequence of events or which element is more active than the other using this method. And I tried recalling it now and I could recall large part of it. One may not have to use the entire word but picking small group of letters (1-3 )from each word which when joined make a little sense helps rem the things very easily. If the letters are being picked from the middle rem them in small letter and if picked beginning rem them as capital letter (this helps to differentiate where next element of the list is beginning). Try using more vowels and finally after you've made it rehearse it again the mnemonic with actual list to establish a comparison and things will be easy!!

This is the best way to study a lot of words in a moment.So, I like this method and now I remember the periodic table easilly forever.I utilise the rhyme for my studies successfully.So,Chemistry will not be a boaring subject no longer to me.

Works but of limited use.

Naomi - NZ
I always remember my port and starboard and left and right by reciting... 'A little bit of red port left in the glass'

I once heard someone talking about which way to change the clock to British Summer Time, she said "Spring back, fall forward - that's the only way I remember it". But of course that's the wrong way round! My wife came up with "Forward March" (to put the clock forward in March) which I find much easier.

Nigel Harris
Aaah the periodic table: "Harry held Linda's beautiful breasts ..." no point in going on as you will surely edit it out.

John - production team - we're intrigued Nigel, we've not heard of it, do try us with the rest of it.

tony nelson
i am doing the knowledge of london for taxi drivers one phrase we use to remember the theatres on shaftesbury ave litte apples grow quickly. lyric/appolo/gielgud/queens

Billy George
My all-time favourite which I still use a lot is "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain" for the seven colours of the rainbow in order: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. And ever since living in Germany, I have avoided a hangover (or worse) from mixing drinks with "Wein auf Bier Rate ich Dir Bier auf Wein - lieber Nein" or turned into English: "Wine on beer Brings good cheer, Beer on wine - Just say "Nein"

Handy for remembering the difference between stalactites and stalagmites...Just remember tights (or tites) always fall down!

The spelling of the word grey/gray. E is the English way and A is the American.

I am terrible at remembering names, but I once worked with someone named Varinder, and I remembered it! I nicknamed him "Nigel" in my mind. Here's how it works: Nigel Mansell drives a Ferarri. A Ferarri is a fast car. So is a Porsche. Porsche sounds a bit like "porch". A porch is like a verandah. Aha! I have a non-standard brain.

yeah eunice, regarding the third ryhme you learn as a child, it was "three and a quarter pounds of jam weigh about a kilogram"

jules vine
having learnt this method as a child i find it quite easy to use more so than many other methods.

It never ceases to amaze me how “academic” research manages to discover the patently obvious, as though it were the atom. There is not a single original thought in any of these dozen memory “techniques” they are the old hat common sense stuff which we have all used for years, with some notable omissions like acronyms. If you can’t do better than this, don’t bother it is just an insult to anybody with an iota of intelligence.

Dave, Thornton
For my O and A level Chemistry the two lines of the periodic table after H & He are remembered by the name of a very exotic sounding Russian spy :- Libebcnofne Namgalsipsclar. It helps me remember the periodic table to this day, 25+ years later!

To remember what happened to Henry VIII's wives use this rhyme: Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived.

The orders of sharps and flats Fat cats go down Alice eating buttons. Better eat apples don't get cats fat.

I used this technique to remember the order of the planets back in school days : "Most Voles Eat Manily Jam Sandwiches Under Nasty Places". (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) It's a very odd sentence, but it's mine so it works, even twenty years later.

funky g
My daughter uses one to remember how to spell 'because'. Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants. It works for her (and me).

never eat cheese eat salad sandwiches and remain young (necessary)taught to my daughter at primary school. I thought this was a brilliant idea.

I find it a great help to spend time reflecting on whatever I have just learned. I find that if I give my brain time to process the information after I have learned something - without any additional distractions or input - I find it a lot easier to recall later. If it has been really intense, I will lie down and listen to 'white noise' whilst my brain goes over the detail. It almost feels like a computer spending a few minutes making a proper back-up.

Rhyming and mnemonics still help me now including Richard of York Gave Battle In Vain , Never Eat Shredded Wheat and the Thirty Days have well as M I double S I double S I double P I - Mississippi. I just automatically refer to them when tring to remember how many days ina particular month etc.

As a child I learnt this useful spelling mnemonic from the Children's Encyclopedia: BELIEVE contains LIE,which we should not believe.

Janet Robson
Roy in a green bivouac is my rainbow method

The answer seems to be always about effort, and having the time to make the effort. When memory tends to be most important we are likely to be at our most rushed or least relaxed so we can't concentrate on playing tricks of any kind. I think overload is a major problem that undermines any strategy for improving memory.

Useful but can be dangerous. A rodent-faced colleague with the name of Wessel was remembered by "weasel". You can imagine what i called him in a businesas meeting one day when stressed!

I used this method before a spelling test in primary school when I learnt to spell Miscellaneous! My rhyme is: Miss Illus Sat Comfortably Eating Lollies Like A Nana, Even Orangutans Use Silly It makes no sense at all (and sounds very silly). You would think it would be harder to remember than how to spell MISCELLANEOUS but I remember it to this day, and I passed the spelling test! :)

brian edwards
I am 69 years of age and through my life have used all techniques listed: mostly because they have been suggested to me or read by myself, but with a couple of them I have actualy worked out the techniques myself and have found them all very useful.

Viv Howard
I use this method to remember my car numbers. I can usually remember the numbers but not the letters so I make a name out of them adding in vowels, making names of relatives. My current vehicle is Horace John (an uncle) -- and Thug.

Does anyone remember - "Saints on high can always have tea or alcohol" Sine = Opposite over Hypotenuse Cosine = Adjacent over Hypotenuse Tangent = Opposite over Adjacent Not much used in later life but you never know!

I teach Reception children in a Primary school and the alphabet song is the bane of my life!! Not because it doesn't work- the 'original' version that I was taught as a child works fine, but I think it's the Sesame Street version that is now used often in Nursery schools and Pre-school settings. This is difficult for the children because the middle part is all jumbled together so it comes out like this: 'elemenopeeeee'(!). The children then tend to sing 'elloellopee' because they can't hear the letters correctly, and so they get really confused about theis section of the alphabet! It's then really difficult for them to re-learn the correct order. And don't get me started on 'zee' instead of 'zed'!!!

This definitely works. When I write the word 'necessary' I slow down slightly because I have to say in my head the childhood learning - never eat cake eat salmon sandwiches and remember why.

Using a rhyme or song is really helpful. I can still remember Pythagoras' Theorum after 20 years because some friends turned it into a song. As long as I remember the melody, I'll be able to remember the theorum - unfortunately I've ever needed it since the Maths test that prompted the song.

These are fun but I learnt something very simple to remember if the month has 30 or 31 days when I was quite little. If you close your hand into a fist and start calling the months by pointing at the peaks and troughs on your knuckles starting with the index finger and working your way down to the other end and back, remembering to count the little finger twice as you come back (Jul and Aug)you'll never fail to get it right. Basically every month which falls on a knucle has 31 days and those that fall on the trough have 30 days. Of course you do have to know that Feb is either 28 or 29 days not 30!

Nathan White
I can never remember how to spell the word 'necessary' It was only until someone told me that a vicker always wears one Collar and two Socks that I am now able to spell this word.

my relatives and old teachers usually applied this techniques when they taught me. It really helps me remember some formula. However, I have yet to try it often enough. Anyway, it is worth practicing the technique.

I always remember when the country 'went metric' these two little gems. "a litre of water's a pint and three quarters" and "a metre measures three foot three, it's longer than a yard you see" I still use them today, there were three but I can't remember the other one, for volume I suppose. Does anyone remember it, I'd love to know.

when learning to dive the mnemonic I remember for the order of checking equipment before jumping is Blonde Women Really Are Fun, which stands for bouancy, weights, releases, air and final check. I remember this because I am a blonde woman who realy is more fun!

If the noose is loose you'll lose your nose.

Margaret Johns
I remember the spelling of Stationary by thinking absence of movement.... and stationery by thinking of E is for envelope.

I remember the first row of the middle of the periodic table by using a rhyme about my chemistry teacher. Scatty titty very crummy Mickey Farmer couldnt nick cubic zinc.

How about 'i before e except after c' to help people spell receive, deceit, believe ...

I haven't tried this, but my partner does use this method for remembering dates & events and it seems to work for him.

There is, there are, there was, there were : T H E R E Learnt 60 yrs ago! If only this one could be taught in school now it would stop people like me getting so cross when seeing the other t h e i r used incorrectly.

julie ward
This usually helps me Dessert/desert: Desserts are nice when shared by two(two Ss) But it's very lonely if you wander around in the desert (one s)

For my a levels, my friends and I sat down and related any of the topics we could into mnemonics. We also tried to match topics to people, so, for example, I have a jumper with monkeys on so I was related to Harlow's Reese monkey nurture experiment. I think this had the added bonus because we used the mnemonic technique with the basic ideas of personal memory cues.

Mis-pronouncing words is also a good way to remember the spelling. Bus-i-ness, K-nive, Sci-ssors, con-science. And Fri-end or fri is the the end of the week. All mildly stupid but that is what makes them so effective. Just remember not to say them aloud in public. Now if I could only remember to spell remember I've had to go back and correct each one. hmm rem-ember??

shanaz ahmed
this is a technique used at an early age at school

Thanks for these mnemonics. I have now easily learnt the order of Henry VIII's wives and the order of the planets in about 10 minutes - shows this technique really works for me!!! I have an exam at work on Monday - hope it's not too late to apply this technique to that - but no cramming!!

Stationary and Stationery A for automobile E for envelope

Andy Trask
or another variation- "My very efficient memory just stores up nine planets" And one for the dales of Yorkshire, north to south is SUNWAC Swale, Ure, Nidd, Wharfe, Aire, Calder

My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets speaks for itself

To spell beautiful - Mrs B Mrs E Mrs A-U-T Mrs I Mrs F Mrs U-L. Don't know why this works but I remember it from childhood. Along the same lines for difficulty, Mrs D Mrs I Mrs F-F-I Mrs C Mrs U Mrs L-T-Y.

my sisters dyslexic and i remeber my dad spending hours with her making up limerics to help her remeber words it worked realy well!!

Lesley Banfield
very useful.

I always use wordplay for remembering things - I can't do chunking to save my life so I make up mnemonics instead. Useful for codes, PIN numbers, you name it. Until the time I stood in front of the cashpoint and couldn't remember if Eric Is a Hungry Horse or if a Hungry Horse Is Eric. Luckily for me on the third go I remembered it was option 1 or there'd have been no hay on the plates that night :-)

Angela, This is excellent. I shall use this. Thank you. Apart from remembering a CAr JACC lifting the said king has anyone got another way of remembering their first names? I found mnemonics late in life but now use and make them up all the time to help my son with his study.

with the exeption of a couple they never worked for me becuase i have to remember whatever it was to rememver the rhyme. i prefer pictures. i can remember the shape, colour and where it is stuck on the wall and then connect these to remember an order

Steve W
Too Many things to do. I was always taught to use Too correctly remember you have 1 too many O at the end, all other times use TO. Theirs and There easy to remember, if its theirs they are the heir to it!

I could not be bothered, it is not something that comes naturally to me.

Necessary - 1 Coffee 2 Sugars! This has always helped me in exams!

this works well, but only if I remember the information correctly the first time, otherwise, the mistakes are what I remember. And I can only remember the days in a month if I use my knuckles - the knuckles are months with 31 days and the space between are the months with less days.

Sometimes learn these rhymes and then forget them but find the rule has stayed in my head.

I always create a mnemonic to remember the registration number of a car when it is new. One car of some years ago was called Extra Pretty Nancy, as I could think of no other way to remember EPN. The number followed a little more slowly.

A shorter mnemonic for learning the number of sharps in the keys is the first and last letters of GooD AlE BeeF. No need to remember the Carrots!

not sure - I have not personally tried it. May also have something to do with my being bi-lingual. I'd be intrigued to about others' experiences whose mother tongue is not English.

Bob Clyde
Many many years ago - when dentists' waiting rooms still had ancient copies of the Reader's digest with adverts for Humber shooting brakes and tweedy clothes, I remember reading a little piece on how to remember the difference between stalacmites and stalctites - it's like ants in the pants - the mites go up and the tights come down.

this i find somewhat usefull. For example I recently visited Kenya, and the locals do try to get you to try to use their language for saying hello, and thanks, that kind of thing, and one of the staff kept saying santa sana squashed bannana, which is thank you very much but obviously with squashed bannana added for the amusement factor, and i really wont forget that one now!!

Piles occur around an imaginary clock face at 4 7 and 11 o'clock

I reckon that if you try to remember EVERYTHING (or at least loads of things) using mnemonics or rhyming techniques, they gradually lose their significance and get mixed up. A couple of the most well known ones are good though, but when you make up your own it is never quite as good (I find). With the sharps and flats and stuff like that I never remember which applies to which! The thing for the planets that I was taught was; My Very Early Morning Jam Sandwiches Usually Nauseate People ..Makes sense too, that one...

This is the way I was taught to name planets "My Very Easy Method Just speeds up Naming Planets" Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto

one for the spelling of diarrhoea - dash - in - a - rush - really - hurry - or - else - accident !!

The method i use for remembering the order of the planets is My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets.

Word play is very useful, and similar to what I have referred to as association. A good imagination and initial vocabulary helps but it is an effective tool for everyone. I used "Some People Call Me Aileen ZIT" for the first column of the periodic table Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Aluminium, Zinc, Iron, Tin. Most people would have heard MAZIT for the last of these 5 elements.

sheila devlin
I was on a course run by Gervaise Finn some years ago and one of the things that has stuck in my memory was how to spell that scourge of all teachers..."the runs" he used this aid :- di..a Really Really Horrible Open Ended Accident well I think that was the any rate, it works for me !!

I agree that the more 'doubtful ' or more vivid the words in the mnemonic or rhyme the easier it is to remember

Dharmaraj Narayan
Pocasctitvana Crominfeconi cuzeegage AsseBroKre Say it five times and with a little aid from knoledge of chemistry you could form the 4 group of the Periodic table! for most part follows the 2 letter element name or common name. Po - Potassium, Ca - Calcium Sc - pronounced Cee for Scandium Tit - for Titanium Vana - Vanadium Cro - Chromium Min - Manganese Fe - Iron Pronounced Fee Co - Cobalt Ni - Nickel - Pronounced Nee Cu - Copper pronounced Queue Zee - Zinc Ga - Gallium Ge - Germanium As - Arsenic Se - selinium Bro - Bromine Kre - Krypton I am sure there is something more simple than that, but saying it over and over was real fun lol! without a doubt quick to learn.

necessary never eat cakes eat sardine sandwiches and remain young.

Alastair Enwright-Singh
'Thirty Days Hath September, April June and November' A waste of time. Just use the knuckles of your hand: knuckle-moonths have 31 days and non-knuckles are non-31 days. It's world-wide.

My son learnt this for his Science exam. It is the order of the planets from nearest to furthest: My Very Eccentric Mother Just Shot Uncle Norman's Pig (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto). Look! Even I remember it, even though its random. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am his son!

In order to remember when to use"there" and "their", I was taught that 'their' has 'heir'in it and relates to ownership. 'There' has 'here' in it and relates to place or location.

Deanna Pini Waldenberg
In my 60s and can remember: Put a Tiger in your tank. Go to work on an egg. A double diamond works wonders. Paws at the curb. Perhaps because they tickled my fancy I can still remember them! Oh, and I still remember Bill and Ben on TV The flower pot men- and was it Peregrin the Penguin? All shows I loved.

It is a good aid to learning, but with most stuff you just have to sit down and learn it.

D'you know, I never thought of saying the months of the year rhyme wrongly until Rog led me into it! Now I can't rememember the correct version ... Ah well.

Peter H
Order of the Planets in the solar system. Men Very Easily Make Jugs Serve Useful Needs Promptly

I use wordplay and rhymes/self invented stories to aid teaching to nursing students, they sometimes find my tips bizarre but they always remember what I have taught them!!

I prefer Naughty Elephant Squirts Water for the compass points. And when using screws etc, turn them lefty loosey, righty tighty.

Our local mnemonic for the order of sharps in musical keys was Fat Cat Got Drowned At Erdington Baths. Not as reversible as the usual Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle but much more vivid

How to spell necessary: never eat chips eat salad sandwiches and remain young!

I like Angela's method, however in my 43 years of life i have never remembered the rhym for the days of the month, no matter how hard i tried, i just could not recall this correctly. Does this make me an idiot? I hope not. However, i found another method someone showed me. Just make a fist then recal the months in order on the knuckles and the dips, each month on a dip between the knuckes is a short month, it's marvelous but i dont see this method on here.

A medical exam aid book I was once involved with had 'If it looks like a dahlia, it's a failure,' as a mnemonic to remember what piles look like! I couldn't see the point - surely, if you know what a healthy a------- looks like, anything else must be the piles?? No? I can only remember how many days in the month by reciting the rhyme I was taught in school.

This one really workes for me. neCeSSAry - a Cup with two Sugars

Works for me as long as the mnemonic (so that's how you spell it ...)is not too long. I also like to vary a well-known or personally significant word or phrase: so, "There's no fuel (fool) like an old fuel" - to remind me to fill the tank.

The best one I've heard is a palendrome. Used in music for the order of sharps one way (Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle) and the order of flats the other way (Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles Father). Brilliant.

When I had to learn the order of sharps and flats for a music exam, I was taught a mnemonic that could work in reverse- for sharps it read 'Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle' (FCGDAEB) but for flats it was 'Battle Ends And Down Goes Charles Father' (BEADGCF).

you know, i must be dum or somethin.... i never did learn those rymes i did learn geography by eliots old granmother rode a pig home yesterday all this memory stuff is good, but it seems alittle over whelming....

I agree with Rog, I can never remember and never know which months have 30 days, but a very useful sentence was taught to my son to remember the spelling of February. It was Feb,are you a rat, yes!

NEVER EAT SHREADED WHEAT!!!!!!! for North East South West for remember there order in clockwise direction

I'm in my forties now and I still use the rhyme that I was taught as a small child "never eat cheese, eat salmon sandwiches and remain young" as a way of remembering the spelling of necessary. The other one is "Mrs D, Mrs I, Mrs FFI, Mrs C, Mrs U, Mrs LTY" for difficulty.

When learning piano scales, ACEG transferred to All Cows Eat Grass, GBDFA became Good Boys Deserve Fun Always.

Alexandra McLeod
This is a very useful trick.

When I was first introduced to music I was asked to make up a mnemonic to remember the order of keys with sharps. The order of sharps already has a well known mnemonic. I am a music teacher now and still use it to teach the keys; (Good Donkeys Always Eat Big Fat Carrots).

I used to get into a pickle over the order of the g, h, and t when spelling eight, eighty, etc. Until I realised the correct way for the g, h, t is in alphabetical order.

When it is imperative that all aspects of a list is remembered this is a good method. Aviation makes use of mnemonics frequently: HASEL (before aorobatics), Height, Area, Security, Engine, Lookout. And that is just one of the few.

I never found the rhyme useful, because "Thirty days hath September, April, May and December" trips off the tongue just as easily as the correct version.

Angela Almond
I am a primary teacher, and I can never remember the wives of Henry VIII in order. I made a mnemonic of their surnames [Any Body Should Count Henry's Partners - aragon, boleyn, seymour, cleves, howards, parr]



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