Element Mnemonic Device - Periodic Table Symbols

Periodic Table Symbols Using Chemistry Mnemonics

Caucasian student scratching head and looking at periodic table of elements
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A mnemonic (pronounced "ne MON ik") is one useful way to remember a list. This chemistry mnemonic is a phrase, consisting of words made using the symbols of the first nine elements in the periodic table.

Happy Henry Likes Beer But Could Not Obtain Food


  1. H - hydrogen
  2. He - helium
  3. Li - lithium
  4. Be - beryllium
  5. B - boron
  6. C - carbon
  7. N - nitrogen
  8. O - oxygen
  9. F - fluorine

Key Takeaways: Mnemonic for Memorizing Periodic Table

  • A mnemonic or memory device is an aid used to recall information. Basically, complex information is made more meaningful or accessible.
  • Mnemonic devices take many forms. Which one you choose depends on your learning style. Some people do best with acronyms, others with poem, others with flash cards, and still others use songs.
  • To memorize the elements on the periodic table, good mnemonics include phrases, the element song, and practicing filling in a blank periodic table.

More Chemistry Mnemonics for Periodic Table Element Symbols

Of course, there are many more mnemonic devices you can use to help remember the element symbols. Here are a few more. Keep in mind, you'll remember the element symbols best if you pick (or write) a mnemonic that you find funny or memorable. Some chemistry mnemonics cover the elements through neon, while several continue on to calcium.

  • Happy Harry Listens B B C Network Over France Nevertheless Nothing More Arose So Peter Stopped Cleaning Airgun K Ca.
  • Happy Henry Likes Beer But Could Not Obtain Four Nuts.
    Naughty Magpies Always Sing Perfect Songs Clawing Ants.
  • Harry Helped Little Benny Balmer Carry Neat Oranges From Neptune's Natural Menagerie Always Singing Polite Sonnets Clearly Arf Key Casually.
  • Harry Helps Little Betty Brown Crack Nuts On Friday Nights.
  • Ha. Healthy Little Beggar Boys Catching Newts Or Fish.
  • Hell, Here Little Beatniks Brandish Countless Number Of Flick kNives.
    Nagging Maggie Always Sighs, "Please Stop Clowning Around."
  • Here He Lies Beneath Bed Clothes, Nothing On, Feeling Nervous.
    Naughty Margaret Always Sighs, "Please Stop Clowning Around."
  • Hi He Lied Because Boron Could Not Oxidize Fluorine. New Nations Might Also Sign Peace Security Clause. Arthur King Can. (elements up to calcium)
  • Hi! Hey Little Ben Became Charlie’s Number One Fighting Nemesis.
    Native Magpies Always Sit Peacefully Searching Clear Areas.
  • Hi! He Lies Because Boron CanNot Oxidize Fluorine. Necromantic Nato Mg (abbreviation for make good) All Silicon Ports. Superman Clean Argon's K-Capture.
  • Hi Hello Little Beryll Brown Cracking Nuts On Friday.
    Nellie's Naughty Magpie Always Sings Pop Songs Clearly
    After Killing Cathy.

Other Ways to Learn the Periodic Table Symbols

A mnemonic can take other forms besides a phrase. Here are some other popular choices. Try to choose a method that works best for your learning style.

  • Blank Periodic Table: Print a blank periodic table and practice filling it out. This method works well for visual learners. Seeing the structure of the table can help boost memory.
  • The Element Song: Learn the element names as a song. You can sing The Element Song, make up your own tune, or adapt the element names or symbols to another pre-existing song.
  • Make Flash Cards: Sometimes, just the act of making flash cards is enough to learn element names and symbols. Write the element name on one side of the card and its symbol on the other side. It's best to practice recalling the names and symbols in order. Alternatively, write the atomic number on the card, mix up the cards, and learn the name, symbol, and number.


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  • Ly, Maria; Murray, Elizabeth; Yassa, Michael A. (June 2013). "Perceptual versus conceptual interference and pattern separation of verbal stimuli in young and older adults". Hippocampus. 23 (6): 425–430. doi:10.1002/hipo.22110
  • Reagh, Zachariah M.; Roberts, Jared M.; Ly, Maria; DiProspero, Natalie; Murray, Elizabeth; Yassa, Michael A. (March 2014). "Spatial discrimination deficits as a function of mnemonic interference in aged adults with and without memory impairment". Hippocampus. 24 (3): 303–314. doi:10.1002/hipo.22224
  • Seay, Sharon S.; McAlum, Harry G. (May 2010). "The use/application of mnemonics as a pedagogical tool in auditing". Academy of Educational Leadership Journal. 14 (22): 33–47.
  • Soanes, Catherine; Stevenson, Angus; Hawker, Sara, eds. (March 29, 2006). "Mnemonic". Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford University Press.
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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Element Mnemonic Device - Periodic Table Symbols." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, thoughtco.com/element-mnemonic-device-periodic-table-symbols-604146. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, February 16). Element Mnemonic Device - Periodic Table Symbols. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/element-mnemonic-device-periodic-table-symbols-604146 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Element Mnemonic Device - Periodic Table Symbols." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/element-mnemonic-device-periodic-table-symbols-604146 (accessed June 5, 2023).