30 Top Spelling Mnemonics

Memory Prompts for Commonly Misspelled Words

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A mnemonic—or mnemonic device—can help students remember important facts and principles. Psych Central notes that a mnemonic is a technique people can use to help them improve their ability to remember something, adding:

"It’s a memory technique to help your brain better encode and recall important information. It’s a simple shortcut that helps us associate the information we want to remember with an image, a sentence, or a word."

Students learn to rely on these little memory prompts, such as ROY G BIV (for the sequence of colors in a rainbow), HOMES (for the names of the five Great Lakes), FANBOYS (for the coordinating conjunctions in English grammar), and Every Good Boy Does Fine (for the notes on the lines of the treble clef).

Mnemonics for Life

Though they are certainly a great help to school students, mnemonics—pronounced ne-mon-icks—aren't just for children. In an article titled "Stalking the Wild Mnemos: Research That's Easy to Remember," educational psychologist Joel R. Levin concluded: 

"Sufficient research evidence now exists to suggest that even skilled learners can become more skilled through mnemonic strategy acquisition and implementation."

So while you may not admit it, you may sometimes fall back on mnemonics to recall the spellings of tricky words—such as those for the 201 most commonly misspelled words in English.

30 Top Mnemonics

Research suggests that the most effective devices tend to be the ones you make up yourself (and the sillier they are, the better). But some classic mnemonics can be very helpful. Below are 30 of the most popular spelling mnemonics.

  1. This word can accommodatedouble c and a double m.
  2. I “c” that you want to acquire it.
  3. When you ascertain a fact, be as certain as you can be.
  4. Gumbo lost an e in an argument.
  5. Bees will be coming to the becoming flowers near you.
  6. Never believe a lie.
  7. Dara checked the calendar every day.
  8. The cat’s egg is gory in this category.
  9. Eileen found herself at e's in the cemetery.
  10. Emma faced a dilemma.
  11. Ed ieither here or there.
  12. It's hard to embarrass really righteous and serious students.
  13. A new environment will iron me out.
  14. Goofy Greg loved to exaggerate.
  15. I met my ex in PE; what do you expect?
  16. That liar looks familiar.
  17. Generally, a general is your best ally.
  18. Mom ate immediately.
  19. In telling the gent, he showed he was intelligent.
  20. It would irritate me if you forgot the second r in irritable, and don’t forget the table at the end.
  21. An island is land surrounded by water.
  22. I alone felt Eli's loneliness.
  23. Miss Pell never misspells.
  24. It's necessary to remember the cesspool in the middle.
  25. Have a piece of the pie.
  26. Please keep quiet about my diet.
  1. It's better to give than to receive.
  2. Rhythm helps your two hips move.
  3. There's a rat in separate.
  4. It's truly hot in July.

More on Mnemonics

There are other types of mnemonic devices, including:

  • Visual systems (creating a visual representation of the information)
  • The mnemonic link system (creating a story based on a list)
  • The count system (associating numbers with a series of items)
  • The major system (converting numbers into consonant sounds)

Mnemonics work by associating easy-to-remember clues with complex or unfamiliar data. Though mnemonics often seem illogical and arbitrary, their nonsensical wording is what can make them memorable. Teachers should introduce mnemonics to students when the task requires the memorization of information rather than understanding a concept. For example, memorizing the state capitals is a task that could be accomplished through a mnemonic device. 

Other Memory Tips

After you've mastered the top mnemonics, take the time to get additional help with spelling in English, including the:

Whether you're a student trying to ace that grammar homework assignment or research paper or an out-of-school adult seeking to brush up on your language skills, a few memory aids and language tips can prove to be very useful.