Mnemonics, A Way to Increase Your Vocabulary

Mnemonic devices are techniques a person can use to help them improve their ability to remember something. In other words, it’s a memory technique to help your brain better encode and recall important information. ( Mnemonics is an effective technique in learning vocabulary whether you are increasing vocabulary in your own language or learning a new language. There are 9 types of mnemonic devices.


  1. Music Mnemonics  musical-notes

Music can be used to help students recall important details to main ideas and many learners have made songs out of information when a list of items must be learned.  For language learners they can learn new vocabulary in a song or help remember a grammatical point by rapping.

 Buenas días, buenas días

¿Cómo está? ¿Cómo está?

Estoy muy bien, gracias

Estoy muy bien, gracias

¿Y tú? ¿Y tú?

2. Name Mnemonics     names

In a Name Mnemonic, the 1st letter of each word in a list of items is used to make a name of a person or of a thing. Sometimes, the items can be rearranged to form a more recollectable name mnemonic. Example:

ROY G. BIV = colors of the spectrum (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.)
3.Expression or Word Mnemonic

The first letter of each item in a list is arranged to form a phrase or word. Here is an example I made up to remember the basic colors in Spanish:

¡Bravo Nan!

Blanco = White

Rojo = Red

Amarillo = Yellow

Verde = Green

O = (holding space)

   Negro = Black

Azul = Blue

Naranja = Orange


4. Model Mnemonics

In a Model Mnemonic, some type of representation is constructed to help with understanding and recalling important information. Examples include a circular sequence model, a pyramid model of stages, a pie chart, and a 5-box sequence.


 5. Ode or Rhyme Mnemonics

A rhyme mnemonic puts information in the form of a poem.

How you feel and where you are, ALWAYS use the verb ESTAR.

For WHO you are and where you’re FROM, then use Ser – the other one.


6. Note Organization Mnemonics

In the sense that the organization of notes can promote recall, it is a memory device.  Notecards are an easy way to organize main ideas and relevant details to be recalled.  Outlines clearly separate main ideas from details. The Cornell System is another way to use a Note Organization Mnemonic to promote recall.

7. Image Mnemonics

The information in an Image Mnemonic is constructed in the form of a picture that promotes recall of information.


A picture of a path to remember the Spanish word rumbo, which means path.

8. Connection Mnemonics

The information to be remembered is connected to something already known. By recalling something you already know and making a mental link to what you are trying to learn, you can help yourself recall the new information. For example:

003 MMC

My license plate on my car.     The way I remember this is I have 3 sons, 003.

Then I remember Mickey Mouse Club. I know its silly, but it works.


9. Spelling Mnemonics

Spelling mnemonics are a means to remember how to spell a word.

Here is an example of a spelling mnemonic: A principal at a school is your pal, and a principle you believe or follow is a rule.

Ask any American child to spell Mississippi and they will rattle off quickly and even spell it backwards.  M-iss-iss- ipp-i.


Give these different memory techniques a try. Let me know if they help you increase your vocabulary or help you remember a grammar point.


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