A mnemonic is a sentence or short poem to help you remember something. I’ve always been on the lookout for good mnemonics to help in my teaching, and awhile ago I came across a really neat little book called i before e – old school ways to remember stuff. I thought I’d share six fun little mnemonics that you can use in your teaching (well, maybe not the last one…).
1 Spelling rule: i before e, except after c. This is the most famous one, used to remind us how to spell words like friend, or field. Actually, to make up for the exceptions like weight (which goes against the rule) there is a longer version I found which goes
i before e, except after c
or when sounded like a, as in neighbour and weigh.
2 Spelling Wednesday – remember how to spell this with the following. The book I mentioned above has a whole chapter of these!
WE Do Not Eat Soup Day
3 The months of the year. Most readers will probably be familiar with this one, Thirty days has (originally hath) September, April June and November; All the rest have thirty-one… But how does it end? I always ended with the lame “except February, which has twenty-eight”. I’ve found two other versions though, which I put below.
Excepting February alone, And that has twenty-eight days clear, with twenty-nine in each leap year.
Excepting February alone, which has but twenty-eight, in fine, till leap year gives it twenty-nine.
4 Parts of speech. The American readers of this blog might have been familiar with a song: Conjunction junction what’s your functio (if you are one of those poor deprived souls who did not grow up with Schoolhouse Rock, you can see a video here) Anyway, here are a couple of others:
The preposition shows relation, as in the street, or at the station.
Conjunctions join in many ways, sentences, words or phrase and phrase.
5 Commas. I think this one is cute:
A cat has claws at the end of its paws
A comma’s a pause at the end of a clause.
6 Finally… I wanted to include one very useful mnemonic for English teachers for the upcoming end-of-year party (and also to get this in before the TEFL Tradesman said it 🙂
Beer before liquor, never sicker… Liquor before beer, never fear.