Mnemonics rhymes to help you remember stuff only work if you can remember them

For example, take the mnemonic to make sense of the calendar.

30 days hath September, August, May and December.

Yes, three of these are wrong, but they fit the rhyme.

So, if so many of the 12 months slot into the rhyme, this means you actually have to remember what the right months are, on your own, in the first place, in order for the rhyme to work.

Ipso facto (waited my whole life and watched a lot of legal dramas to use that phrase), the rhyme is pointless.

For goodness sake, just use a calendar, it’s easier

Am I being too weird? I can never tell.

Also this: ‘Columbus sailed the ocean blue, in nineteen hundred and sixty-two’.

Completely wrong of course, but this incorrect modern date fits the cadence perfectly.

What I am trying to say, in case you don’t understand, is that it IS USELESS.

(It was actually 1492 – I had to Google it, because, as we know, that rhyme is faulty.)

OK, one more. ‘Blue and green should never be seen’.

Blue and green – not together please


It’s the GREEN bit that rhymes with the SEEN bit, so the other colour could be literally anything – ‘Pink and green should never be seen’ (fair), or even ‘kung fu and green should never be seen’ (unfair and also confusing).

The possibilities are endless.

In order for this to help you remember what colours to mix and match, you have to actually remember that it’s about colours (not martial arts), and also what colours don’t mix and match, rendering the poem pointless.

(It should be ‘blue and green, you’ll RUE being SEEN’ doncha think?

No confusion there.

Sadly, I was neither consulted nor alive when this phrase was coined.)

Spelling ones are no better. I recently learnt the mnemonic for spelling diarrhoea: ‘Dash In A Real Rush, Hurry Or Else Accident!’

Cute, huh?

I laughed so much and thought it was the cleverest thing ever, ensuring no more trots-related spelling errors.

I tried to teach it to someone who proceeded to repeat it back to me after 10 seconds by saying, ‘Dash Else Incident! Rush, Dear, Rush, Ew!’

Which just spells Deirdre.


So, no, I’m no fan, and if you need a little mnemonic to help you remember that, here is one: NRJRTIDLT.

Not Really, Just Remember That I Don’t Like Them.

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