Monday, August 30, 2010


Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge!
Taylor, 1994
Remember saying A rat in the house might eat the ice cream to remember how to spell arithmetic? Or Every good boy deserves fudge as a way to remember the notes for the lines on a treble staff of music? Well, those are mnemonics! They are devices to help us remember things!
You will find them in every discipline from music, medicine, biology, electronics, spelling, physics and geography. And there are categories of mnemonics, and I've listed the three basic ones below.
Rhymes and Catch Phrases ~
1. I before E except after C, or when sounded "A" as in neighbor and weigh. And weird is just weird!
2. Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor's warning.
Spelling Acronyms ~
BECAUSE ~ Big elephants can always understand small elephants.
GEOGRAPHY ~ General Eisenhower's oldest girl rode a pony home yesterday.
RHYTHM ~ Rhythm helps your two hips move.
NECESSARY ~ Not every cat eats sardines (some are really yummy)
ARGUMENT ~ A rude girl undresses; my eyes need taping.
POTASSIUM ~ just remember one tea, two sugars
DESERT/DESSERT ~ just remember with dessert, you always want seconds
List Order Acronyms
1. Order of colors in the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) Richard of York gave battle in vain. (I always just said roy-g-biv)
2. Order of taxonomy in biology ~ (kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species) Kids prefer cheese over fried green spinach.
So, there you have it!
Do you have any favorite mnemonics that you use to remember something?


  1. I think i before e except after c is the only one I can remember.

    But here was a sentence when we were learning to type that used every letter in the alphabet. Every good dog...Oh my the memory is gone!!

    I did learn a poem to help me remember which Months has 30 or 31 days. "30 days has September, April, June and November. All the rest have 31 except Feb who has 29."

    I need to exercise my brain for often.....Thanks Betsy!

  2. BTW ~~ speaking of memory... I forgot to tell you how adorable the picture of Taylor is....

  3. ha that is a great picture...i dumped all the ones i used after college...never to remember them again...

  4. Wanda ~ are you thinking of "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" ??

    Sentences that contain all the letter of the alphabet are called pangrams! Maybe I'll do that word game next! :)

  5. Brian ~ me, too! I remember making some up to memorize for a test...but they left my head as soon as the test was done! LOL!

  6. We learned, "every good boy deserves favor". I feel like I missed out on fudge for all those years! :-) The only one I remember is "HOMES" for the 5 Great Lakes!

  7. Anita ~ Oh, the HOMES is a good one...had not heard that before!

  8. Always fascinated by these posts.

    I used to think of "There's a rat in the middle of the word!" for "separate," which too many people spell as "seperate."

    And I always have to be careful to avoid spelling "embarrassed" as "embarassed," with one "R," ever since seeing a scene in the movie Echo Park where the employer of a group of strippers defines "embarrassed" as "I'm bare-@$$ed!"

  9. Of course, as many before me have pointed out (jokingly), "I before E except after C" means that Albert Einstein's name is spelled incorrectly...

  10. My biggest problem (as a rapid but two-fingered typist) is with typographical errors. I'm constantly hitting the "P" key along with the "O," so I wind up with "top" instead of "to" and "yopu" instead of "you!"

  11. And one final comment from this ancient Fox: When you say "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog," are you making a wisecrack about some of my ex-girlfriends?

  12. There was also the order of the planets around our sun from the inside out -

    men very easily make jugs serving useful necessary purposes

    but that was before they decided that pluto isn't a planet after all.

  13. I have only one that I can recall from my years at university: SIV. Siv is a girls name in Swedish and I used to use it when I started to work in the lab to remember that acid goes into water, not the other way around ( to avoid explosion). Acid is called *Syre* and water *Vatten* in Swedish thus Syre I Vatten = Siv. Hope this comment did not bore you to death.;)

  14. Mr. Fox ~ I'm going to remember your 'a rat' trick as I always second guess my spelling of separate! Thanks!

    embarrassed...two r's as in doubly red perhaps? :)

    the I before E rule has so many exceptions, it shouldn't even be a rule!

    the quick brown fox?...obviously your younger days..before silver hair! LOL!

  15. Zuzana ~ that is a very good one for a scientist to know...you certainly don't want to create any explosions! LOL!

  16. "embarrassed...two r's as in doubly red perhaps?"

    Well, there are still people out there who are capable of blushing, even in this day and age.

    "the quick brown fox?...obviously your younger days..before silver hair!"

    Exactly. It was a lot easier to jump then.

  17. I'm the one that always MESSES them or MIXES them up!

  18. I recently came across "HOMES" for the Great Lakes in a crossword puzzle. My 8th grade English teacher taught us, "neither foreign sovereign seized the weird heights" to remember some of the exceptions to the I before E rule.

  19. I had not heard some of those! What fun!

  20. They are a good way to remember things aren't they?! I am catching up on your posts today! :D

  21. for the 12 cranial nerves:
    Our Trusty Truck Acts Funny, Very Good Vehicle Any How

    for the Krebs cycle:
    a clumsy columbian in casual attire courts sloozy susie for many opportunities

    and to remember that a german guy, Flemming, discovered and named the chromatin: Flemming coughed up a chromatin (like phlegm)

    Yes. I am a science geek. And proud of it :)

  22. 8x8 dropped on the floor. Picked it up it was 64

  23. oops, it's On Occasion Our Trusty Truck... haha been a few years since I needed that one.

    I also was taught HOMES

    And how about My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas for the planets (again, in the dark ages when pluto was a planet)

  24. RxBambi~ oh, those are great...you are doing great to remember those!

    I'm feeling sorry for Pluto! I still think of him as a planet! ha.

  25. Alison~ I've never heard the multiplication one! I wonder if there is one for every equation!?

  26. Those are great....
    I still say i before e....lol
    Geography for me was George eat old gray rabbit at paul's house yesterday!!!
    I couldn't figure out why I didn't know Every good boy deserves fudge.....no music in my background...none whatsoever!

  27. I saw this on a T-Shirt...
    “I” before “e” except after “c”…weird, isn’t it.

  28. Anita ~ that shirt is perfect! LOL!

  29. I always use the I before E to help me remember how to spell a friends last name! I like some of the others you shared!

  30. I always learned it as "Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit"--now go try that on your boys and tell me how that goes! :)

    Oh now, another one of these word things. I only now have just mastered what anochromies are...or whatever! Oh gosh, already forgot it. Oh, oh ...ues, I got it--acrostics. Seriously--brain lapse there for a mo. Oh dear me. Is there any help for me here? LOL.

  31. What a cutie!! Yes, every good boy DOES deserve fudge.

  32. This is delightful, post and comments as well. Most of these I've never heard of.

    I have a trick for how many days are in a month without the rhyme. Make a fist, then starting with the first knuckle bone where the finger meets the hand, say the months as you move along the rest, using the knuckle and the space between. When you reach the last knuckle at the pinkie finger (July), go back to the first knuckle (August)and continue. The knuckle months have 31 days, the space between months have 30. But you still have to remember about February.

    I love your rhythm mnemonic.

  33. You mentioned remembering all the multiplication facts. Well, I'm a teacher and I made up stories and pictures with rhymes to help kids remember. For 7 x 9 = 63, The 7 is a boy in the shape of a 7 and his name is Kevin. 9 is a porcupine named Nina in the shape of a 9. Kevin and Nina found a tree to climb but it had sap on it. It was a "sticky tree" which rhymes with 63. I call them Memory Joggers.

  34. I knew I before E except after C
    and Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain
    The rest are fascinating.
    Have you one for Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

  35. @Eddie Bluelights:

    The closest we came to that word is this. In the comments section of another post on this blog, we were discussing acrostics (for which Betsy is famous), and I offered the following acrostic:

    Silly and
    Untranslatable, with a
    Related by
    Characters in
    Reminiscent of
    Life experiences
    Times that
    Come back,
    Xtremely [Okay, that was a "cheat!"]

  36. Silver ~ and for posting that, I bet you are so happy for cut&paste, aren't you? It's even better than correction tape in the IBM typewriters! :)

  37. Yeah, but it was a b***h re-entering the HTML to give each letter bold print!!!


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