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Student Information

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TIPS

Learning English Grammar with Mnemonics

Mnemonics are techniques that can optimise your ability to remember what you’re learning. It comes from the Greek word ‘mnemonikos’ which means ‘aiding memory.’ Sometimes mnemonics involve rhyme, songs, poems or acronyms.  The rhythm and images that come to mind while learning in this way, build an association with the learning material that is stronger than merely memorising by rote.

Mnemonics for Parts of Speech

The following poem is an example of mnemonics that teaches parts of speech in English grammar: 

NOUNs name a person place or thing,
Like Mary and monkey, river and ring;

In place of nouns the PRONOUN‏‎ sits
Like he, she, I, you, they, and it;

The ADJECTIVE‏‎ describes a thing,
Like magic wand and platinum ring;

The VERB‏‎ means action, something done -
To read and write, to jump and run;

How things are done, the ADVERBS‏‎ tell,
Like quickly, slowly, badly, well;

The PREPOSITION shows relation,
Like in the street, or at the station;

CONJUNCTIONS‎ join a word or phrase,

 and, but and or are different ways;

The INTERJECTION‏‎ cries out, 'Hark!’
I need an exclamation mark!'

Through Poetry, we learn how each
of these makes up the PARTS OF SPEECH.

It may feel silly or childlike to use mnemonics, but statistics prove that they work.  They are used in a variety of subjects such as history, physics and medicine, and when utilised correctly, can be quite effective. 

Here are some shorter mnemonic techniques for learning grammar.

Mnemonics for Comma Usage

A comma is defined as a punctuation mark used to separate clauses. 

The following is helpful for remembering the role commas play in sentence structure. 

A cat has claws at the end of its paws.   A comma’s a pause at the end of a clause.

Mnemonics for Double Negatives

Double negatives are no longer considered grammatically correct, but it is important to recognise them. Double Negatives exist when two negative words are used in the same clause.  One way to remember this is through the following phrase.

I don’t know nothing about double negatives.

Hopefully these examples of mnemonics were helpful in demonstrating how they can help improve memory.  While some mnemonics are useful, it’s important to recognise if you are starting to use so many that they are no longer effective.  If this occurs simply limit your use and intersperse some mnemonics with other learning techniques.