Examples of Mnemonics

Mnemonics are among the most useful of all memory techniques. There are literally hundreds of them, if you look for them, depending on which field you are interested in. And these are just the ones that are in common use. There’s no reason you can’t make up your own, and if you do they’ll probably be even more effective, since you invest something of yourself in them – your own inventiveness and imagination.

Here’s a few more mnemonics to illustrate the idea:

Order of the Planets

No, it’s not an award for services to cosmology, it’s just the way the planets are ‘arranged’ in terms of position from the Sun, one after another (although many millions of miles apart, of course!).

My Very Easy Method: Just Say, Understood Now
(Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn,Uranus, Neptune)

or, if you want to include Pluto:

My Very Excellent Method: Just Say U kNow Planets
or … My Very Easy Method: Just Set Up Nine Planets

(but remember, Pluto’s not actually classed as a planet anymore, not since 2006!)
And you can’t remember where the asteroids are? Shame on you! They’re exactly halfway along the sequence, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter (or another way of looking at it, separating the smaller planets from the gas giants).


TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects


Stop, Take inventory, Orientate, Plan

Stop: Don’t panic. Think carefully about your situation before you make any important decisions.

Take inventory: What do you have available? Anything useful? Food? Water? Tools? Anything that might be useful later?

Orientate yourself: Where are you headed? Which direction? Where would help most likely come from?

Plan: Make careful plans before you set off. Foolish to start without any idea of what to do.

Don’t just rely on traditional mnemonics or mnemonics you come across in books, make up new ones as you go along. They’ll mean more to you, 
AND be more easily remembered! 

Car journey pre-check

Make sure you’re prepared before you set out. Remember this simple mnemonic.

P – E – T – R – O – L

Petrol, Electrolyte, Tyres, Radiator, Oil, Lights

(Electrolyte refers to distilled water in the battery.)

Warp and Weft

Warp and weft are the proper terms for the threads in a fabric. During weaving, warp threads  are held under tension on a frame and run from top to bottom, and the weft threads are inserted over-and-under the warp threads, and run from side to side. But how to remember which is which? Hmm …  Here’s a nice little mnemonic that reminds you:

Weft goes weft and wight!

Scientific and Medical Mnemonics

There are many, many scientific and medical mnemonics, of which these are just a few:

Layers of Epidermis
Stratum Corneum
Stratum Lucidum
Stratum Granulosum
Stratum Spinosum
Stratum Basale

The first eighteen elements of the Periodic Table

Happy Henry Likes Beer But Could Not Obtain Four Nuts

That gives us the first 10: Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine, Neon.

Naughty Magpies Always Sing Perfect Songs Clawing Ants

That gives us the next 8: Sodium (NA), Magnesium, Aluminium, Silicon, Phosphorous, Sulphur, Chlorine, Argon

The bones of the skull

Old People From Texas Eat Spiders

This stands for: Occipital, Parietal, Frontal, Temporal, Ethnoid, Sphenoid

To treat sports injuries


Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation

Prone or Supine (or pronate/supinate)?
Supine is lying on your spine (so prone’s on your front)
Also, prone to suffocate in prone position. 

Stung by a bee or a wasp – what’s the right treatment?

Ammonia for a Bee sting,
Vinegar for a Wasp sting

(A is followed by B, and V by W) 

The seven aspects of life


Growth, Reproduction, Irritability, Movement, Excretion, Nutrition, Death

Use mnemonics for everything!

As you can see, you can use mnemonics for all sorts of things. There’s nothing to stop you using them for learning facts and dates, for memorising lists of notable people in the arts, sciences, philosophy, medicine, politics or any other field. Or, for that matter, for making a list of things you regularly have to be able to recall, such as items you might need on a shopping list.

You could make a list of the ten or fifteen most important things you might need to check while out shopping, and then make a mnemonic to keep them available at a moment’s notice. You won’t need all of them on every trip, but you can mentally run through the list each time and keep your eyes open for a little light flashing on now and then!

Never again arrive home and realise you didn’t get the one thing you went out for!


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