Earlier this week in the publication Nook ar of our Educators page, we featured an excerpt from Nancy Frey and Douglas Fisher"s Learning words Inside and Out, all about how teachers deserve to use mnemonik to aid students go words come memory. Several of these memory aids are very well-known: most everyone knows Roy G. Biv spells the end the initial letter of the seven colors in the spectrum, for instance. But there"s an endless variety of other mnemonic gadgets that obtain passed under from generation to generation, extending just about every field of person endeavor.

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Some mnemonics are basic rhymes, favor "Thirty days hath September..." or "I prior to E, except after C..." Others are acronyms to assist you mental the order of tricky words: if you have trouble spelling rhythm, simply remember the very first letters of Rhythm help Your 2 Hips Move. There are likewise acronyms that expand to create a sentence encapsulating a rule; thus, OILRIG is a handy mnemonic in chemistry come remember the Oxidation Is Loss, palliation Is gain (meaning the oxidation results in the lose of electrons, when reduction results in the get of electrons.)

countless mnemonic tools are acronyms to aid you remember items on a list. Once the list isn"t in any collection order, it enables for much more freedom in developing a mnemonic: because that instance, HOMES helps you remember the surname of the great Lakes, even though there"s no signficance to the bespeak of Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. Most of this mnemonics, however, have a particular order come memorize, as in Roy G. Biv because that the colors of the visible spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). Who is Roy G. Biv, anyway? I"ve review that he"s supposed to it is in a leprechaun who spells out the rainbow, but to me the sounds much more like a mild-mannered accountant. I personally like reading the mnemonic the other means around, together Vibgyor, which you might imagine together the surname of a rampaging warrior. VIBGYOR! (And certain enough, now that ns look, a writer called Walter Herries Pollock wrote a story means back in 1874 featuring a cruel Prince Vibgyor.)

When the list doesn"t loan itself come an acronymic reading, it deserve to instead it is in treated as an acrostic, through the initial letter of the noted items matching to initial letters of indigenous in a mnemonic phrase. Thus, instead of Roy G. Biv, you can use "Richard of York Gave battle In Vain." (That mnemonic has actually a bonus feature: it speak you who shed the fight of Wakefield, waged in 1460 in between the houses of York and Lancaster in the battles of the Roses.) The longer the order, the an ext involved the acrostic gets. Speak you"re hope to commit to memory the stimulate of geological time periods: Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Recent. You"re walk to need something like, "Cows frequently Sit down Carefully. Perhaps Their Joints Creak? Persistent early Oiling might Prevent ache Rheumatism." It"s so lengthy you can need a mnemonic for her mnemonic!

The order of the planets in the solar mechanism is a standard list in require of a good mnemonic. Prior to the exploration of Pluto in 1930, a well-known mnemonic was "Mary"s Violet eyes Made John remain Up Nights" (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and also Neptune). Then as soon as Pluto was included to the roster, nine-planet mnemonics occurred like "My an extremely Excellent (or Educated, or Extravagant, or Energetic) Mother just Sent united state Nine Pizzas (or Parrots, or Pickles, or Pies)." after ~ Pluto to be heartlessly demoted from planethood in 2006, science educators had actually to remove the "Pizzas," instead opting because that mnemonics prefer "My really Excellent Mother simply Sent united state Noodles." In the Pluto-less lineup, I"d recommend going back to the "Mary"s Violet Eyes" golden oldie, which has a wistful, haunting quality to it.

What"s your favorite mnemonic? have actually you created any type of yourself? let us recognize in the comment below! I"ll begin the ball rolling through one that ns made in high college biology class to memorize the stages of fetal development (zygote, blastula, gastrula, embryo, fetus): "Zbigniew Brzezinski Goosed Ella Fitzgerald." I believed I was terribly clever, despite my classmates didn"t seem to think so. Still, I know I"m going come remember that mnemonic to my dying day.

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Ben Zimmer is language columnist for The wall surface Street Journal and former language columnist because that The Boston Globe and The brand-new York time Magazine. He has functioned as editor for American dictionaries at Oxford university Press and as a consultant come the Oxford English Dictionary. In enhancement to his consistent "Word Routes" shaft here, the contributes to the group weblog Language Log. That is also the chair of the new Words Committee of the American dialect Society.