Mnemonics can be useful in a number of ways as you learn English

A mnemonic (the ‘m’ is silent) is a mental tool you can use to help you remember something. Mnemonics have been around for centuries and they are helpful in a number of situations, including learning English.

Ancient Greek poet Simonides is believed to have invented mnemonics after a party!

Ancient Greek poet Simonides is believed to have invented mnemonics after a party!

For example, I can still remember the classification of living things I learned in elementary school with the mnemonic ‘Kings Play Cards on Funny Green Stools’, where the first letter of each word is the first letter of the names of the different categories (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species). Mnemonics can be just such acronyms, songs, rhymes, etc.

Mnemonics can be useful in language learning as well. They can be used

  • to remember rules (e.g. ‘Nouns name a person place or thing/Like Mary and monkey, river and ring’)
  • for the proper spelling of commonly misspelt words (e.g. ‘Emma faced a dilemma’)
  • for more complicated aspects of studying English (e.g. the steps of the writing process are ‘Pretty Dolls Rarely Ever Punch Criminals’, or pre-write, draft, revise, edit, publish, celebrate).

The beauty of mnemonics is that you can create them yourself for whatever need you have. They are also extremely useful in that you only need to do them once to remember the rule or new word forever.

A simple visual mnemonic to learn the word ‘capacious’

A simple visual mnemonic to learn the word ‘capacious’

Whether you are a native English speaker in elementary school trying to learn new words or a second-language English speaker trying to improve your language skills, mnemonics can be very helpful. There are countless books and websites that provide fun mnemonics to help you learn new words.

The mind is an endlessly creative engine and if you feed it with the right input, it will always produce great results! So whenever you find yourself trying to learn a word or rule, or memorize a list for an important test, just use some creativity create a clever way to keep it in your head forever.

About the Author

Dagmawi is a man of many hats. He was written web content, as a journalist and creatively. An engineer by training, he also has experience with marketing and business development. But travel and writing are his two passions and he is always on the search for greater opportunities to express himself through the written word. Follow him on twitter