This is a FUN area devoted to anyone who needs the occasional memory aid.
Check out the categories below (in alphabetical order, of course!). Send us an email if you have aids that are missing here or are different or better. If you give us permission and we choose to include your memory aid, we’ll give you credit (first name only?).
COPYRIGHT ISSUES: Most of the materials included are our own and are not copyrighted. You may use these mnemonics without a copyright citation. If we have included copyrighted material, we note the source and remind you to cite the source if you reuse the material. Whenever you use IRO's material, we would appreciate a reference to our website so that others can participate in the fun! (Citations: www.iro.com)
What Is a Mnemonic Device Anyway?
|It is a memory trick that you invent. The trick is (hopefully) easier to remember than whatever you are trying to memorize or remember. It’s a pneumatic device for “pumping up your memory.”|
How Does a Mnemonic Device Work? Is It Really Worth the Time and Trouble to Learn the Device?
|Imagine that you are a contestant on Jeopardy, and you need to supply the name of the northernmost lake of the Great Lakes. You already know the HOMES memory aid for naming the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior), but which one is the northernmost? Superior, in this case, refers to its size and its position (on a map, it’s at the top) among the Great Lakes. Congratulations! You just won $10,000 because you were brave enough to “make it a true daily double.”|
How Can You Remember How to Spell Mnemonic?
|We’re not quite sure how that silent “m” got in front of the word we pronounce KNEE MON ICK. Just think that “m” in front of the word stands for “MEMORY”, and remember to spell it mnemonic.|
Okay! Let’s have some fun. Choose the category below that interests you the most:
COBOL Common Business Oriented Language
The U.S. Department of Defense developed this English-like language to process business data for the government in 1959. It is partly based on the programming Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, USN, Ph.D. had written; she is called the "mother of COBOL." By the way, she is credited for coming up with the term “bug” whenever something goes wrong with a computer program or process. With Dr. Hopper, it was really a bug in the animal kingdom that was found in a computer that was misbehaving.
HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol
Data is communicated on the World Wide Web by means of text that is linked (hyperlinks) to other locations (nodes) containing text.
(Copyrighted material from en.m.wikipedia.org: "The term hypertext was coined by Ted Nelson in 1965 in the Xanadu Project….Tim Berners-Lee and his team at CERN are credited with inventing the original HTTP along with HTML [hypertext markup language] and the associated technology for a web server and a text-based web browser. Berners-Lee first proposed the "WorldWideWeb" project in 1989.”)
TARDIS Time and Relative Dimension In Space
Dr. Who's time travel machine as found in the highly popular British science fiction television series Dr. Who. Introduced in 1963, it was modeled on a British police telephone box. As is often heard during the programs, "it's bigger on the inside."
URL Uniform Resource Locator
A Web address (EXAMPLE: http://www.iro.com)
First of all, Wi-Fi probably doesn’t stand for or mean anything. Specifically, it doesn’t mean “wireless fidelity.” It’s most likely a reference to Hi-Fi or high fidelity, a term already familiar to those who appreciate good sound systems.
Here’s a reference from Wikipedia (note copyright):
The term Wi-Fi, commercially used at least as early as August 1999, was coined by brand-consulting firm Interbrand Corporation. The Wi-Fi Alliance had hired Interbrand to determine a name that was "a little catchier than 'IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence'". Phil Belanger, a founding member of the Wi-Fi Alliance who presided over the selection of the name "Wi-Fi", also stated that Interbrand invented Wi-Fi as a play on words with hi-fi, and also created the Wi-Fi logo.
You can spoil a perfectly good mnemonic, but be careful. Once spoiled, you may not be able to recall the correct mnemonic when you want to.
(1) For example: That area with all the sand is spelled DESSERT; the extra S is for sand.
Ouch! Better stick with this memory trick (the correct one): That sweet concoction you have at the end of a meal is spelled DESSERT; the extra S is for SUGAR.
(2) If you’re trying to navigate two major one-way streets in San Francisco, California, you can mess up the correct mnemonic (Oak Street goes to Oakland (one way East bound); Fell Street goes to the water; if you keep going on Fell, you'll fall into the Pacific (one way, West bound) by saying
Oak Street goes to the Ocean (the Pacific Ocean); the other street (Fell) goes to Oakland. Wrong!
Health: Taking Pills/Using Eye Drops
Idea #1: Plastic boxes with days of the week for medications to be taken all week work well if the box is placed somewhere you are sure to see it as part of your daily routine. Some boxes have an area for morning pills and evening pills. These boxes can be large. They might work better at home where size is not an issue. For traveling, some are too large for coat pockets or purses.
Idea #2: Morning dose: Place pill bottle on bathroom sink counter with cup full (8 oz.) of water. Once the pill is taken, turn pill bottle on its side. It's reassuring to see that "early morning" pill on its side because it erases any worry you might have forgotten the pill while you were still groggy.
Idea #3: Morning dose: Place one pill (or your daily dose) on your bedside table along with a bottle of water. Don’t get out of bed until you have taken that pill. A bottle of water is less likely to spill if you accidentally knock it over. A refillable water bottle is more environmentally friendly than plastic drinking water bottles.
For pills taken later in the day while you are home: Place pill bottle(s) on bathroom sink. Once taken, turn pill bottle on its side.
When all the pill bottles are on their sides, return the pill bottles to the medicine cabinet. That way, only medicines on the bathroom counter are still to be taken.
If away from home and at WORK, pack correct dosage, place on desk (maybe in front of computer monitor) or in an area you are sure to see during the day, and take medication(s).
If away from home and TRAVELING, pack a 7-day pill box labeled with days of the week..It may look silly, but why stress over your pill-taking routines when you are all excited about climbing the leaning tower of Pisa or seeing the Mona Lisa in Paris for the first time? If the 7-day pill box is large, just pack the pills for one day in your coat pocket or purse and leave the 7-day box in your hotel room.
Drops and Liquid Medications
For drops and liquid medicines, turn bottle on its side once the medicine is taken. Better still, and to guard against leakage, immediately return a bottle to the medicine cabinet once the medicine is taken. That way, only liquid medicines or drops on the bathroom counter are still to be taken. At night before going to bed, place all the medications for the next day on your bathroom sink.
If you take drops or liquid medications several times a day, set a reminder on your smart phone or computer. Visual reminders are harder to rely on if you are taking medications at times other than rising in the morning or going to bed at night. Someone we know uses a small plastic tray with labels for 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 9:00 PM. She places bottles of three different eye drops where they belong according to when she takes them during the day. A quick glance at the clock and the tray will tell her if she should put eyedrops in her eyes.
If you are working outside the home or traveling and need to take drops, be sure to pack a spare supply in a coat pocket, desk drawer, or purse. Recent natural disasters requiring sudden evacuations remind us that we should pack an emergency supply of medicines in purses or containers near the front door or garage door.
Small children alert: Place all pill bottles and drops out of a child's reach but somewhere you will see them as part of your daily routine. Remember that even toddlers can push together furniture and climb. Here’s an idea: You can post paper NOTES around the house (bathroom mirror?) to remind you to take medicines that are safely hidden from children. Also, you can set alarms or reminders on your smart phone.
LONGITUDE and LATITUDE
“The latitude lines stay parallel to each other as they encircle the globe; longitude lines go the other way.”
[from the book Longitude by David Sobel]
The term LATITUDE starts with the same 2 letters as the word LADDER. You step on the LATITUDE steps to go up the LADDER. The LATITUDE steps are parallel to the ground and the roof of the structure.
As a fun way to study latitudes, find the latitude for the location of your home and see what other cities fall on the same latitude around the globe. Find out if the weather is similar; if it isn't, why is there a difference?
Longitude lines are interesting from the standpoint of navigation. Sailors figured out how to navigate on open water from readings of the sun and stars as long as they were going east to west or vice versa. North to south proved far more difficult. It wasn’t until John Harrison invented a clock that would keep accurate time (not affected by the pitch and roll of sailing ships or nightfall) that the problem of navigating on vast seas was solved.
THE GREAT LAKES
Most of us learn the HOMES mnemonic for remembering the Great Lakes:
Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior
Northernmost of the Great Lakes: Superior in this case refers to its size and its position (on a map, it's at the top) among the Great Lakes.
One memory trick: remember the first letter of the Presidents’ first names: GATT - Presidents on Mount Rushmore
George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson
Here’s another suggestion: Remember the ORDINAL position (first, second, etc.): from left to right:
1-George Washington (first in his country; first on Mt. Rushmore);
2-Thomas Jefferson (founding father, 2nd in our thoughts when we think of the beginning of the US government);
3-Theodore Roosevelt (3rd on the mountain, a pioneer);
4-Abe Lincoln (separated from others by a large gap, alone in his standing as a president who changed the world forever)
Note the two Ts are next to each other.
Here are some fun other facts and memory tricks for these facts:
Sculptor: Gutzon Borglum
(Gutzon had the guts to tackle a project this massive. All the presidents look bored and glum; not one is smiling)
Location: Black Hills of South Dakota
(the Blacks in the South were better off after Abe was president)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
Oak Street goes to Oakland (one way East bound)
Fell Street goes to the water; if you keep going on Fell, you'll fall into the Pacific (one way, West bound)
(see Demonic Mnemonics for another reference to this memory aid)
Bush Street goes to the Bay (one way East bound)
Pine Street goes to the Pacific Ocean (one way, West bound)
(attributed to San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen as reported in a WELL posting by Mabop E-why-o (jerome): 1276.80 12:06 18 Nov 97; The WELL, launched back in 1985 as the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, provides a cherished watering hole for articulate and playful thinkers from all walks of life. http://www.well.com/ )
| U.S. Government |
Learning the Branches of Government
Memory trick: Pick up a camera and take a picture of the two houses of Congress
(Congress is the Legislative/lawmaking branch, composed of the House and the Senate. Remember bi means TWO, as in two wheels on a bicycle.)
The Great Compromise
(agreed on during the formation of the U.S. government and the writing of the Constitution)
Virginia Plan: Favored by the larger states (remember Virginia is a large state) because the number of representatives/votes would be based on the individual state's population.
New Jersey Plan: Favored by the small states (remember New Jersey is a small state) because every state would be entitled to the same number of representatives/votes in the legislative branch.
The Great Compromise combined the best of the Virginia and New Jersey Plans:
The number of members in the House of Representatives is based on a state's population (at least 3 representatives per state regardless of population and 3 guaranteed for the District of Columbia, making the total number of legislators in the House 438);
The number of members in the Senate is based on the number of states in the Union: currently 50. Each state has two representatives regardless of the population or size of the state; hence, there are 100 Senators.
The 3/5 Compromise: How to count slaves turned up as a problem when the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 met to decide how many Representatives would represent each state. Non-slave-holding states would not allow the slave-holding states to count their slaves one-for-one with the non-slave population. James Wilson and Roger Sherman, delegates to the Convention, proposed the 3/5 Compromise: Slaves would be counted as three-fifths in total when counting Representatives a state would have. The Compromise carried over to Presidential electors and taxes.
[More content to come and will include the Executive and Judicial Branches]
|The Seven Deadly Sins |
We're not sure why someone wants to be able to remember these (huba!, huba!), but for those of you who do want to recall the "capital vices" or "cardinal sins," as they are also called, here goes:
A avarice (also listed as greed)
P pride (vanity on some lists)
An Avaricious, Energetic Glutton Lusted after a Pride of lions, but on this day his Sloth prevented him from using his Wrath.
If you use this list of 7 Deadly Sins,
you can use this mnemonic:
Sam’s Girl Will Value Every Lousy Guttersnipe!
Or, you can see the first letters this way: Egglsvw (This is an EgglessView).
[More content to come]
SPELLING AND PRONUNCIATION (AMERICAN ENGLISH)
THE i BEFORE e RULE
I before E except after C
Or when sounded as A
As in NEIGHBOR or WEIGH
Follows the rule: receipt, receive, deceive, yield, niece, neighbor, weigh, weight, eight, eighth, eighteen, eighteenth, eighty, eighties
Does NOT follow the rule:
Neither the weird financier nor the foreigner seizes leisure at its height.
Some people claim there are more words that do NOT follow the rule than words that do!
VOWEL SOUNDS — THE LONG and SHORT OF IT
****FUN with Silent E****
Even some people with college degrees don't know the fun you can have with Silent E. For our lesson, we are turning to comedian Tom Lehrer (currently a retired math professor from the University of California, Santa Cruz), the songwriter for The Electric Company song Silent E.
Some background: In English, a LONG vowel sound is the sound made when you say its name. Say ALOUD these letters of the alphabet. These are all LONG VOWEL sounds:
A E I O U
In English, a SHORT vowel sound can have a variety of sounds that we won't cover here.
Below is a fun way to learn the difference in SHORT and LONG VOWELS—Add Silent E. These are actually the words Tom Lehrer uses in his song Silent E.
Here is the rule:
can + E = CANE
pan + E = PANE
cub + E = CUBE
tub + E = TUBE
pin + E = PINE
twin + E = TWINE
cap + E = CAPE
tap + E = TAPE
glob + E = GLOBE
dam + E = DAME
sam + E = SAME
man + E = MANE
van + E = VANE
hug + E = HUGE
Here is what Tom Lehrer does with these words:
SILENT E (featured on The Electric Company)
Who can turn a can into a cane?
Who can turn a pan into a pane?
It's not too hard to see
It's silent e
Who can turn a cub into a cube?
Who can turn a tub into a tube?
For silent e
He took a pin and turned it into pine
He took a twin and turned him into twine
Who can turn a cap into a cape?
Who can turn a tap into a tape?
A little glob becomes a globe instantly
If you just add silent e
He turned a dam - alikazam! - into a dame
But my friend sam stayed just the same
Who can turn a man into a mane?
Who can turn a van into a vane?
A little hug becomes huge instantly
Don't add w, don't add x, and don't add y or z,
Just add silent e
[Source: The Web site http://www.allthelyrics.com/lyrics/tom_lehrer. Copyright: As stated at the site: All lyrics are property and copyright of their owners. All lyrics provided for educational purposes only.] IRO.com, an educational Web site, is using these lyrics to illustrate English language spelling and pronunciation rules. Please always abide by copyright rules.
Of course, it's more fun to HEAR Tom Lehrer sing this song. There are a couple of versions on YouTube. Here's one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91BQqdNOUxs
Again, the person who uploaded this video to YouTube is using the YouTube license. Please respect that license. (Many Tom Lehrer albums can be purchased online and in music stores, and his songs are a national treasure.)
MORE FUN with Silent E -- How to add -ING to the "Silent E Song" words
Here are the rules for some of the words that are verbs or nouns (we can't apply the rules to every word in the song to make a new English word):
Examples illustrating the spelling rules above:
can + ing = CANNING (to put fruit into jars or cans to preserve it for later consumption)
cane - Silent E + ing = CANING (to beat someone with a cane) (Note the A is a long vowel and sounds like its name)
pan + ing = PANNING (to point a camera across a landscape or room in a sweeping motion )
cube - Silent E + ing = CUBING (to multiply a number by itself 3 times; 3x3x3=27)
pin + ing = PINNING (to attach something as in pinning the tail on the donkey)
pine - Silent E + ing = PINING (to yearn deeply; to fade physically/mentally, perhaps out of grief)
You can see the pattern. It's useful to know about this spelling trick when you need to tell the difference between such words as hopping and hoping.
Now that you know the pattern for adding ing, you see that hopping started out as HOP (we doubled the final letter and added ing to get to HOPPING (what a bunny rabbit does on his way to Farmer Bob's carrot patch).
On the other hand, you now know that HOPING started out as HOPE (we dropped the Silent E and added ing).
CONFUSING WORD ENDINGS (SUFFIXES)
****Is it ABLE or IBLE?****
Here are the rules for choosing between ABLE and IBLE at the end of some words:
Add ABLE to whole words (the word is already an English word without the ending).
Add IBLE to partial words (the words are NOT English words without the ending).
KNOWLEDGE KNOWLEDGEABLE (preferred; without final e on knowledgE also OK)
****Is it CEED or CEDE?****
Almost all verbs with an ending that sounds like CEED are spelled CEDE.
precede (goes before, introduces something)
recede (falls back, withdraws, as in waters recede after a flood)
secede (withdraws from; South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union)
intercede (interrupts, gets in the middle between opposing sides)
concede (gives in, no longer offers an opposing side or point of view)
accede (gives up and accepts opponent's rights or points)
Here are exceptions:
proceed (go forward, move along)
supersede (replaces something before it)
exceed (goes beyond the norm, expectations, limits)
succeed (accomplishes a goal)
****Is it FUL or FULL?****
Words ending in the FULL sound are spelled with only one L.
When you add LY to the words above, you get to double the L again!
carefully, resentfully, hopefully, cheerfully, healthfully, joyfully, bashfully
****Is it ANCE or ENCE?****
Words that end in ANT use the endings ANCE and ANCY.
Memorize the following words in a group since the pattern is not so clear:
pleasant, restaurant, sergeant, immigrant, emigrant, appearance, hindrance, entrance, attendance, remembrance
It is helpful to make up your own memory aids when you constantly use a word you have trouble spelling. Say "attend a dance" to help you remember to spell the word attendance.
Deliberately pronouncing words to emphasize the endings is helpful: Try saying RE MEM BRANCE to help you remember how to spell remembrance.
Words that end in ENT use the endings ENCE and ENCY.
WORDS OFTEN CONFUSED (AMERICAN ENGLISH)
Some of these words are homonyms, words that sound exactly alike but are spelled differently. Others are here because they have similar sounds.
(We are not offering specific memory tricks below for all of these words, but we hope that by pointing them out, we can help you note them. You might try memorizing a simple sentence for one of the words that you can recall when, in the future, you need to choose between the words.)
(verb) to receive, with agreement or consent -- I accept your apology.
(preposition) leave out from a group -- I like all fruits except pineapple.
(verb) to influence -- That new rule will affect me in lots of ways.
(noun) the result of an action -- What effect will that rule have on me?
(pronoun + adjective) all prepared, in readiness -- The meal is all ready.
(adverb) previously -- The teacher has already received his raise.
(pronoun + adjective) everyone in the same place -- The family is all together now.
(adverb) entirely -- The accident was altogether his fault.
(pronoun + adjective) everything is satisfactory -- He checked to be sure everything was all right.
SEE ABOVE. Currently, both spellings are accepted, but all right is preferred in formal and academic writing and by retired English teachers.
(noun) a table or stand in a church -- The priest was standing beside the altar.
(verb) to change -- If we miss the bus, we will have to alter our plans.
(article) in general, pointing to one item -- We say "a car" but "an apple" because apple starts with a vowel. Two vowels together form a difficult sound to pronounce. -- I ordered a root beer and an apple pie with ice cream.
(conjunction) joins two nouns, phrases, verbs, or sentences -- Rita and Bob are shopping for tires and windshield wipers and are going to the movies later.
(adjective) without covering, naked -- I like to go barefooted in my house.
(verb) to take off, not hide, reveal -- The lawyer said he had new facts to bare.
(verb) to hold up -- The columns bear the weight of the roof.
(verb) to produce, give birth to -- That tree bears 40 apples every year.
(noun) large, stocky omnivore of the Ursidae family -- Bears love fish and honey.
(verb, past tense of bear) given birth -- Where were you born?
(verb, past tense of bear) carried -- He has borne his troubles bravely.
(verb) to purchase -- Are you going to buy the Tesla or the Toyota?
(preposition) near -- I like to sit by a pool and dangle my feet in the water.
(noun) main city -- The capital of California is Sacramento.
(adjective) main, most important -- In the USA, we consider murder a capital offense.
(noun) building -- The Capitol building in Washington, D.C., has two main chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.
(verb) to select, present tense -- Today, you can choose either one.
(verb) selected, past tense -- Yesterday, you chose the red one.
(noun) garments we wear -- I love comfortable clothes; some are 25 years old.
(noun) pieces of material, fabric -- My dust cloths all need to be washed; they are dirty.
(adjective) rough, crude -- Horse hair is coarse; cats have silky fur.
(noun) a path to be taken, a unit in studies -- I passed my course in biology, just barely.
(verb) to run through or over -- From up here you can see where the river courses through the deep canyon.
(noun) something that finishes, completes, makes whole or perfect -- The complement of a 50 degree angle in a 90 degree angle is a 40 degree angle.
(noun) something said about a person that is good -- He paid her a compliment when he noted how quickly she solved the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle.
(verb) to say something good, especially about a person -- The teacher likes to compliment students when they ask good questions in class.
(noun) rep. of a foreign government -- He is the consul for Jordan.
(noun) group of people who meet -- I am on the Energy council.
(noun) advice -- You would be wise to accept her counsel in this matter.
(verb) to give advice -- I cannot counsel you on that matter because I would have a conflict of interest.
(noun, pronounced DES' ert) hot, dry, arid area -- Water is scarce in the desert.
(verb, pronounced des ERT') to leave, abandon -- The soldier who deserts his post is in a lot of trouble.
(noun, pronounced dess ERT') final course of a meal, usually sweet -- Ice cream is my favorite dessert.
(MNEMONIC: The extra S in DESSERT is for SUGAR.)
(adverb) in the past/previously -- Formerly, I was head of operations at IBM; now I work for Apple.
(adverb) with dignity, following strict rules -- She was dressed formally for the Academy Awards.
(noun) an example or illustration -- For instance, you picked the correct answer.
(noun, plural) very short time, plural -- The traffic light was green only two instants!
(possessive pronoun used as an adjective) whatever belongs to it; In English, for example, we say: my hair, your hair, his hair, her hair, its hair, (and then plural) our hair, your hair, their hair -- The dog has been outside all day; I'll bet its nose is frozen.
(pronoun + verb. Delete the i in is, replace it with an apostrophe, and close up the space between the two words) Contraction of it and is -- I think it's going to be hot today.
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT IT'S: In English, we like to make our language easier to pronounce and more efficient to write. There is a risk you take any time you leave out something. Not everyone will know that it's is the same as it is. To confuse matters even more, a lot of people know the difference in its and it's, but they make a mistake and use the wrong one. To be safe: Use IT'S when you are speaking and mean to say it is. Use IT IS when you are writing.
(verb, present tense) to go first -- You lead, and we will follow.
(verb, past tense of to lead, rhymes with (snow) sled) action in the past of going first or directing -- On June 6th, he led the armies to victory.
(noun, rhymes with led - see above) -- Lead is a very heavy metal.
(adjective) good, lesson of conduct -- His good conduct showed him to be a moral person.
(noun) spirit, mental condition -- The morale of the Army was high after they won the battle.
(verb, past tense of verb to pass) to go ahead of, go around -- He passed me at the finish line and won the race.
(noun) time before the present -- The old man likes to tell stories from his past.
(adjective) refers to that which has already happened -- Past events help us learn lessons that we can apply to current events.
(preposition) a word used to show relation to another word in a sentence -- I drove past your house on my way to the grocery store.
(noun) opposite of strife or war -- We seem to have more years of war than peace.
(noun) a part of something -- I'm happy! She gave me a large piece of apple pie.
(Note the word PIE in PIECE--A good memory trick!)
(adjective) applies to individual -- He gave us his personal opinion of the book.
(noun) group of employees of a company -- The personnel of the company ranged in age from 18 to 78.
(adjective) (1) not fancy, (2) clear -- The Amish wear plain, not fancy, clothing. (2) The television reporter gave us the plain truth about what happened at the mall yesterday.
(noun) a flat area of land -- She used to live high in the mountains, but now she lives on the flat plains of Colorado.
(noun) (1) flat surface, (2) tool, (3) aircraft -- (1) Plane geometry is the study of flat surfaces. (2) The carpenter used a plane to smooth the bump in the lumber. (3) The Wrights' Model B planes had wheels, enabling them to land on a variety of hard surfaces.
(noun) (1) person who leads a school (2) (adjective) the main one of several things -- (1) The principal of the high school speaks several languages, and communicates with students in English and in their (2) principal, native languages.
(noun) (1) a rule of conduct (2) main fact or law -- (1) The judge said the criminal had no principles. (2) The student understands the principles of mathematics.
(noun) freedom from noise -- I love the cabin in the woods; there is peace and quiet there.
(adjective) making little or no noise -- The librarian asked us to be quiet because we were talking too loudly.
(adverb) (1) completely, wholly (2) to a great extent or degree -- (1) I had quite forgotten to pick up my Dad from the Library. (2) At 6 feet 7 inches, he is quite tall.
(verb, present tense, rhymes with reed, what a flute player uses in her mouthpiece) to understand combinations of letters that make words -- I read my current emails in the morning.
(verb, past tense, rhymes with led, the past tense of lead) understood combinations of letters as words -- Yesterday, I read five articles in National Geographic magazine.
(noun, rhymes with led, the past tense of lead) one of the colors the human eye can see -- The U.S. flag is red, white, and blue.
(adjective, rhymes with led, the past tense of the verb to lead) describes something that has the color of seven of the stripes of the U.S. flag -- The U.S. flag has seven red stripes and six white stripes.
(adjective) remaining in one place, still -- The car was stationary; it never moved.
(noun) material for writing, paper -- He chose his best, formal stationery for his thank-you letter.
(MNEMONIC: Note that both stationery and paper have an A and an E in the same order.)
(conjunction) connects two items, as in a comparison -- He is stronger than his brother.
(adverb) at that time -- Please wear a green jacket; then I will recognize you.
(possessive pronoun used as an adjective) whatever belongs to them; In English, for example, we say: my lunch, your lunch, his lunch, her lunch, its lunch, (and then plural) our lunches, your lunches, their lunches -- Most of the students brought their own lunches.
(noun) a place -- I'll meet you there at six o'clock.
SPECIAL NOTES REGARDING THERE as the first word in a sentence:
English speakers have fallen into bad habits regarding THERE as the first word in a sentence. THERE is NOT the subject of the sentence. THERE actually doesn't have any role in the sentence, but it sure trips us up when we try to find the real subject of the sentence and make it agree in number with the verb. Here are some model sentences; watch for number agreement of subject and verb.
There is a banana in my lunch box.
(To determine what the subject is, drop there and ask, "Who?" or "What?" is in the lunch box. Banana is the subject. It is singular. It takes a singular verb form: is. A banana is in my lunch box.)
There are two bananas in my lunch box.
(To determine what the subject is, drop there and ask, "Who?" or "What?" is in the lunch box. Bananas is the subject. It is plural. It takes a plural verb form: are. Two bananas are in my lunch box.)
There are good arguments on both sides.
(To determine what the subject is, drop there and ask, "Who?" or "What?" is on both sides. Arguments is the subject. It is plural. It takes a plural verb form: are. Good arguments are on both sides.)
There are a lot of good arguments on both sides.
(To determine what the subject is, drop there and ask, "Who?" or "What?" is on both sides. Arguments is the subject. It is plural. It takes a plural verb form: are. This time, there are a lot of good arguments. "A lot of" modifies good and therefore functions as an adverb modifying the adjective good. A lot of good arguments are on both sides.)
There is a lot of snow on the ground.
(Drop there and ask, "Who?" or "What?" is on the ground. Snow is the subject. It is singular and takes the singular form of the verb: is. This time there is a lot of snow. "A lot of" modifies snow and therefore functions as an adjective. A lot of snow is on the ground.)
There are a lot of hailstones on the ground.
(Drop there and ask, "Who?" or "What?" is on the ground. Hailstones is the subject. Hailstones is plural and takes the plural form of the verb: are. This time there are a lot of hailstones. "A lot of" modifies hailstones and therefore functions as an adjective. A lot of hailstones are on the ground.)
FINAL NOTE REGARDING THERE as the first word in a sentence:
If you listen to American television news broadcasters, you will be amazed at how many times they choose the wrong verb when the sentence begins with THERE. Actually, they almost always get it wrong. British broadcasters are more careful and get it right more often. (They've had more years to get it right!) We really should clean up our act here. We owe it to our grandchildren to leave them a rich language that we have safeguarded and revered.
(preposition) a word used to show relation to another word in a sentence -- I gave my book to the librarian.
(adverb) also, more than enough -- (1) Fred likes football, and Kevin does too. (2) He was too tired to think clearly.
(noun, a number) one + one = 2 -- There are two packages on the sofa.
(noun) circumference of the human body around the middle -- Vivien Leigh, the star of Gone With the Wind, had an 18-inch waistline!
(1-noun) (2-verb) 1- unused material 2- to squander -- (1) The waste from discarded plastic drink bottles is an environmental catastrophe. (2) During the six-year drought in California, residents learned not to waste water on grass lawns or long showers.
(adjective) feeble, lacking strength, not strong -- She just had surgery and is too weak to walk yet.
(noun) measurement of seven days -- The salesman has been away six days, just one day short of a week.
(noun, no h sound) conditions outdoors -- The weather changed from hot to cold in a matter of hours.
(conjunction, pronounce the h) connects two options or choices -- I don't know whether to evacuate or stay put and see if the winds get stronger.
(pronoun + verb is) contraction of who is or who has -- Who's the main star of the movie?
(Remember the Abbott & Costello routine Who's on First? The baseball player at first base is named Who, leading to a lot of confusion and a humorous exchange between the two comedians.)
(possessive form of the pronoun who) -- Whose bicycle is parked here?
(possessive form of the pronoun you) -- What is your idea? Is this your coat?
(contraction, pronoun you + verb are) to form contraction, remove the a in are, add an apostrophe, and close up the spaces -- You're on the A list if you remember to use you're when you need a subject and a verb in a sentence.
MORE FUN WITH HOMONYMS
(We know these sentences were developed by an English teacher, but we cannot locate the name. As soon as we find it, we will post it and give credit for this clever presentation of homonyms.)
The bandage was wound around the wound.
The farm was used to produce produce.
The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
We must polish the Polish furniture.
He could lead if he could get the lead out.
The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
I did not object to the object.
The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
They were too close to the door to close it.
The buck does funny things when the does are present.
A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
Upon seeing a tear in the painting, I shed a tear.
I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
STARTING YOUR OWN "DUMB BUNNY LIST"
The term "dumb bunny" comes from a flight attendant in the movie The High and the Mighty. Yes, it is about airplanes, and yes, the creator of this Web site set out to be a flight attendant or pilot. Doe Avedon, who plays the flight attendant, is telling a passenger how much she admires her because she speaks two languages. Since she only speaks English, she calls herself a "dumb bunny." The flight attendant is NOT dumb; she is modest. She is smart enough to know the airplane is in trouble, even before the pilots know it. (Of course, the movie's big star, pilot John Wayne, knows there is trouble early on as well.) I started a list that has been pinned up in my classrooms, corporate offices, and home offices for 60+ years to track words I couldn't remember how to spell. The first entry on my Dumb Bunny List is
occur occurring occurrence
I could never remember how to spell two cities in Arizona. I added these pronunciation guides to my Dumb Bunny List: PHO E NICKS (Phoenix) and TUCK SON (Tucson). Problem solved.
To this day, I never misspell those words. I just visualize the entries on my Dumb Bunny List.
Call it what you will, post it where you will (maybe in your Planner? Journal?), but trust me when I tell you it is a great MEMORY AID.
| INTEGERS (Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying, Dividing both Negative and Positive Integers) |
First, some basic terminology, and then the fun part:
Integer: the set of whole numbers and their opposites. The whole numbers are the counting numbers and zero: 0, 1, 2, 3, and so on. Their opposites are negative numbers not counting 0, which is neither negative nor positive: -1, -2, -3, -4, and so on.
Number Line: A number line has 0 in the middle. Beginning at 0, the numbers to the right side increase and are positive. Beginning at 0, the numbers to the left side decrease and are negative.
Absolute Value: A number's absolute value is its distance from zero on a number line. It does not include a sign (negative or positive). The symbol of two parallel straight lines with a number in the middle is read as "the absolute value of the number." The absolute value of -3 is 3. The number -3 is 3 positions to the left of the 0 on a number line.
First of all, some basic terminology:
The numerator is the top number of a fraction.
The denominator is the bottom number of a fraction.
Since a fraction is a representation of parts of a whole, the bottom number/denominator represents how many parts the whole number has been divided into. If there is a 16 in the denominator, it would take 16 fractions of 1/16 to make up a whole item.
The top number/numerator represents how many parts of the bottom number there are in the fraction. In the fraction 3/16, we are saying that if a chocolate bar is divided into 16 parts, we have 3 of those parts. Yum!
A mixed number includes a whole number and a fraction.
1- 1/2 is a mixed number
An improper fraction has a larger number on top (the numerator) than on the bottom (the denominator). 25/5 is an improper fraction.
It's important to understand the WORDS behind the math. Example: If you ask how many quarters (25-cent coins) are in a half dollar (a 50-cent coin), the answer is obvious: 2. Think of it this way: A whole dollar contains 2 halves or 4 fourths. If we put aside one half, we still have 2 fourths. If we divide up the half that’s left, we have 2 pieces or two of the original fourths left. We have just divided 1/2 by 1/4.
It turns out that one of the best ways to learn math, is to think of the numbers as money whenever you can substitute money.
We can read 1/2 divided by 1/4 as "what would happen if we take a half bar of chocolate and cut it into fourths?" First, assume you start with the whole bar of chocolate. Put aside half the bar (2 pieces or 2 of the 4 pieces) so that we can get back to our math problem. We look at what is left and see that indeed when we divided half the whole bar into fourths, we had 2 pieces in each half. We see that 1/2 divided by 1/4 = 2. Now, you and a friend--the TWO of you-- each get your share of chocolate.
It turns out that one of the best ways to learn math, is to think of the numbers as candy whenever you can substitute a sweet treat. PLAY GAMES. HAVE FUN!!
Here's another memory aid for dividing fractions:
KEEP * SWITCH * FLIP
1/2 divided by 1/4 =
Keep the 1/2
Switch the sign (math operation) to X for multiplication
Flip the second fraction upside down
(Swap the numerator for the denominator. Expressing it another way: Substitute its reciprocal)
Now the problem reads: 1/2 X 4/1 =
You can solve the problem two ways:
(1) Multiply the numerators to get 4 (1 X 4). Next, multiply the denominators to get 2 (2 X 1). The improper fraction 4/2 can be simplified to 2, the correct answer.
(2) You can also apply some pure mathematical magic: The denominator in the first fraction (2) can be divided into itself to arrive at 1 and divided into the numerator of the second fraction (4) to arrive at 2. Now we have 1/1 times 2/1. The answer is 2/1 or just 2.
This cross cancellation or early reducing/simplifying fractions is a real time saver if the numbers in the problem are large.
16/30 divided by 256/90 =
becomes 16/30 X 90/256=
1/1 X 3/16 = 3/16
If you are a glutton for punishment, you could multiply 16 X 90 (the numerators) and 30 X 256 (the denominators) and simplify 1440/7680, but why would you want to torture yourself?
We are going to skip adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing Positive integers because we don't run to the text books or math help Web sites to find out how to deal with those. Negative integers, on the other hand, can become quite complex.
Why bother to learn how to deal with negative integers? We actually do use negative numbers when we discuss temperatures, money, elevation, depth, and sports.
ADDING A NEGATIVE INTEGER AND A POSITIVE INTEGER
Use sign of larger number and subtract. Examples:
(-7) + 4 = -3
6 + (-9) = -3
(-3) + 7 = 4
5 + (-3) = 2
Hint: Try plotting these problems on a number line.
Take 6 + (-9) = -3 for example.
Place your finger on 6 on the positive side. Move to the left NINE places (-9), and you find your finger on -3.
ADDING A NEGATIVE INTEGER AND A NEGATIVE INTEGER
Negative + Negative = Negative
Add the numbers and retain the negative sign. (HINT: Remember you are moving further to the left on the number line.)
(-7) + (-3) = -10
(-2) + (-147) = -149
(-13) + (-6) = -19
SUBTRACTING A NEGATIVE INTEGER FROM A POSITIVE INTEGER
MNEMONIC: Like signs have a positive attraction to each other (they "like" each other & become positive).
Positive - Negative = Positive
5 - (-3) = becomes 5 + 3 = 8
Example: You find the $5.00 you thought you lost yesterday, but you still are down $3.00 that you lost later in the day. Now, your best friend shows up with the $3.00 that was under a book on the desk. Your friend has reversed your loss. You now have $8.00.
$5.00 - (- $3.00) = $8.00
SUBTRACTING A POSITIVE INTEGER FROM A NEGATIVE INTEGER
Negative - Positive = Negative
Hint: Remember that a negative and a positive are not the same; they don't like each other; they don't form
a positive bond; they have negative feelings about each other.
(-5) - (+3) = becomes (-5) + (-3) = -8
Example: If you have already lost a $5 bill because you have a hole in your pocket and then 3 more $1 dollar bills fall out of your pocket, you are out $8 (your total loss is $8.00).
-$5.00 - (+ $3.00) = -$8.00
[More to come on Multiplying Positive and Negative Integers and Dividing Positive and Negative Integers]