First Things First; Mnemonics Are Rhymes to Help You Remember Stuff. but They Don't Help You Remember Stuff

Sunday Mirror (London, England), March 17, 2019 | Go to article overview

First Things First; Mnemonics Are Rhymes to Help You Remember Stuff. but They Don't Help You Remember Stuff


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.

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'. 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. …

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