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Eight Tips For Creating Mnemonics


If you’ve been using Spellzone for a long time, you’ll know that we love a good mnemonic. While our online course is useful for understanding English spelling rules and their exceptions, individual students often have different words that they struggle to spell. It’s in these instances, that we believe it’s helpful to come up with a mnemonic.

Since mnemonics work best if they are personal to the student using them, today we are sharing our top tips for creating your own.

  1. Think of words that rhyme with the word you’re trying to spell.
    For example:
    • Please keep quiet about my diet.

  2. Come up with an acrostic to help you remember each letter in a word.
    For example:
    • BECAUSE - Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants.

  3. Acrostic mnemonics are especially effective if they can be linked to the meaning of a word.
    For example:
    • Quiet - Understand It Ends Talking
    • Rhythm Helps Your Two Hips Move

  4. Look for smaller words within the word you are trying to learn how to spell.
    For example:
    • Try working your way up from the word ‘sin’ to ‘sincerely’ by adding two letters at a time to create a new word at each step: SIN, SINCE, SINCERE, SINCERELY

  5. To aid your memory, try and link the smaller words to the overall word you are trying to spell.
    For example:
    • Beginning has the words beg and inn in it. Think of the beginning of Jesus’s life: Mary and Joseph had to beg to stay at the inn, but, because there was no room, Jesus was born in a stable.
    • Believe has the word lie in it. Say to yourself: “Try not to believe a lie.

  6. If you’re struggling with a specific part of a word (such as remembering how many of a particular letter to use), focus on that instead of trying to come up with a mnemonic for the word as a whole.
    For example:
    • Embarrass - “I turn really red when my sister sings.
    • Extremely - Three rhymes with E which is the number of times this letter appears in the word.
    • Separate - remember that the two As are separated with an R.

  7. Try linking the part of the word you are struggling to spell to another word that will help trigger your memory.
    For example:
    • The opposite of ‘give’ is ‘receive’.
    • Use the vowels in ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to help you remember the difference between ‘prescribe’ and proscribe’. Think of ‘prescribe’ as meaning ‘yes – you should do this’, and ‘proscribe’ as meaning ‘no – this is not allowed.’

  8. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! We won’t share any examples but we’ve heard that the ruder a mnemonic, the more effective it is likely to be…

If you found this article useful, why not check out some of our other posts about mnemonics:

Good luck!


23 Jun 2015
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