A few questions to advanced mnemonists


I have a few questions to those who use mnemotechnics to study.

  1. When learning a large amount of material, do you create locations and arrange their order before or during the study?
  2. When study a lot of material, do you memorize every word, or do you “transform” individual parts of the material with keywords? If you transform individual parts of material into keywords, do you somehow do it? (Do you choose keywords from among the words in the text, or do you give a title to a specific part of material and memorize this title?
    In the instances provided for in the preceding article, rights under implied
    warranty for physical defects are not lost despite the buyer failing to observe the time limits for inspecting the thing and notifying the seller of the defects if the seller has deceitfully concealed the defect or has assured the buyer that there are no defects.

Would you choose a few key words from the above recipe (e.g. rights, implied warranty, defect, buyer, or maybe you have titled this text and memorized the title (e.g. deceptive concealment of the truth)?
If you would select several keywords, how do you search for the keywords? Which words are best suited for this (how to choose these words)?
3. Do you re-use locations while study?

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I use all kinds of system. I once learned the whole periodic table using major system for the first 99 elements then used peg system for the last 18 elements. Atm I am learning Turkish using 1. Mnemonic Image Method
I use everything I know even different languages. For example:

Term Value Mnemonic
Cift Pair My keyboard has a pair of shift keys
Bir One One beer
Bu This Booo. This is rubbish!
Da Too Duh, that too.
Var Exists Far away there exists a goblin
Baslang Beginning Het begin is best lang
Yer Earth It’s year 2021 on earth
Ol To be To be old
Ben I Ik ben
Cık To go out Shrek goes out with fiona
Bul To find To find a bull
Kader Untill Untill Laylat al-Qadr!
En Most En de meest gevreesde
Ya Either Ja, of dat
Ki who, which Who has the key? - Which key?
Ayna mirror Ai, nothing in the mirror. It must be a vampire
Kanit Proof Dat kan net, met genoeg bewijs, wetenschappenlijk zijn
Kiremit Tile Deze tegel maakt mij kierewiet
Yan Side jan li seli
I to be ii, watashi wa sonzai shimasu
Once before Voordat ik een rondje ga lopen, ga ik eerst naar de wc
Son End Son, this is your end
Gir To enter Luffy enters into Gear sekando
Kullan use Ik gebruik een ventilator om te koelen
Gerek necessary Werk is noodzakelijk om te kunnen eten
Biri Someone Someone’s beer is empty
Durum Condition The condition of this durum is horrible. It tastes like ■■■■
Getir to bring Breng me de glitter
Mudur director Mijn moeder is de directeur
Bekci Guard De beveiliger is een beetje moe
Kar Snow Get in the car it is snowing
Yagmur Jammer Jammer het regent
yağıyor Raining Ja hoor het regent
Boyle Thus Thus spake Arthur Boyle
Goster show Hij toont mijn een klooster
Hal condition Hala
Asir Century The Æsir rule for centuries
Siyah Black Siyah silah
Mavi Blue A mafia in blue suit

For long texts I just brute force it. For example I memorized Paradise Lost untill ‘O Prince, O Chief o Many Throned Powers’ without using any mnemonics, because it just takes too long to encode and the decode.

  1. Almost always before.

My PhD had a ton of philosophy, so I indexed the MPs A-Z and used the authors as Bridging Figures throughout each MP.

Most (but not all) that I did not plan in advance were a pain, almost more pain than they were worth.

  1. It depends.

I don’t use keywords. The gematria works much better for me.

As with @Exploit, there are different systems, and you pull them in relative to what’s needed when.

  1. Rarely, usually I only reuse MPs used for practice.

That said, compounding is kind of like reusing, i.e. adding more details to established knowledge after the fact.

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Hi, I hope my answer can help you.

  1. I do it whenever I find something I want to memorize.

  2. I memorize some key word or words. As long as I understand it I can explain it even if I don’t know the exact words used in the material. I have learned some things verbatim for exams though (law), but in my case, as long as I remember the key word, I can reproduce the material with the same words easily, most of the time at least.

For example, if I were to memorize that article you cited, I would imagine “something” (that something would probably be my image for the number/reference of the article) acting sneaky and concealing a really big physical flaw, I could maybe add a huge ticking clock besides him.

If you are really understanding the subject and not just memorizing (which is the way one should do things), you would be aware of the fact that the buyer has a time limit in which he has to inspect and notify the seller about the defects. By having that previous knowledge and then remembering the “something” acting sneaky and all that, I immediately remember that if the seller conceals those defects or manifests to the buyer that there aren’t any, the time limit won’t extinguish those rights.

  1. I do re-use locations, all the time.

Regarding your example:

  1. I would often reduce to a bare list of ‘absolute’ S-V-O sub-topics:
  • |rights are lost|
  • |buyer observe time (limit)|
  • |buyer inspect thing|
  • |buyer notify seller|
  • |seller conceal defect|
  • |seller assure buyer|
  1. I reconstruct the whole by reintroducing phrase structure, qualifications, conditions and truth values

(Mnemonic and testing are used, but details are less important)

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How would you create images for the “phrase structure, qualifications, conditions and truth values”?

Hi Niten,

With apologies, I actually was consciously avoiding discussing how specifically I would create the mnemonics because that seems to me to take away from the more important question, which is how I prefer to organize my approach.

Step one builds a very simple framework. If anything, this is the most import preparatory activity. It builds a skeleton of the subtopics that are under discussion. Once that is done, the rest follows, imo.

[Please notice that the S-V-O sentences are stated in a standard form that may even state the opposite of what the original utterer intended to assert or argue.]

Once you isolate these forms, you may or may not feel the need to memorize them using mnemonic techniques.

More important is that they provide value as prompts which you can use to test your memory and understanding against by reintroducing the elements of the sentence that were left out—and from there, quickly figure out what you need to do next, i.e.: focus on recall, focus on comprehension, etc.

And that may be enough.

Getting back to OP’s example: when reviewing the half-dozen S-V-O statements, the next task is to figure out if you are already able to reassemble the reasoning that gets you from the S-V-O statement, ‘Rights are lost’ to whatever the original utterer actually intended.

In this example, the utterer was asserting precisely the opposite, i.e.: Rights are NOT lost (…in cases where the seller concealed defects or claimed there were no defect., regardless whether the usual time limit had passed, etc).

So, if you can use the S-V-O as a base to reconstruct the relations that tie these subtopics into what the original utterer actually argued, asserted or intended, you may be done. If your brain is overwhelmed and forgeting, you may need mnemonics.

If there should be a need to memorize at this point, any number of methods will do to encode the S-V-O’s, likewise any number of methods will to do to encode a supporting clause, an adjectival qualifier, and so on.

Bottom line, I could explain my mnemonic methods, but I prefer not to at this time because I see them as a distraction from what I consider to be a deeper point.





Before. Planning always eliminates future problems. But then, I plan to let the information arrange itself while studying it. Backgrounds for groups of memory images suggest themselves when the details become too large.

Keywords. When I am familiar with the context/domain of the subject, my natural memory is able to fill in much of the text. Keywords are those things that need to be remembered to make a good visual memory image. If I forget critical parts, then I need more keywords. I put common keywords in a dictionary of visual memory images for reuse and visualize others on the fly.

Implied warranty = a gold-sealed paper inside the object, express warranty = gold-sealed paper affixed to the outside. My memory image is a shifty used car salesman blocking the view to a dent in a car and saying “It’s almost brand new!” while checking his watch and the innocent buyer with money in hand kicks the tires. A large gold-sealed document fills the interior of the car.

No re-use. If it’s a large body of knowledge, having a consistent environment for it, aids the extension of that knowledge.


Bottom line, I could explain my mnemonic methods, but I prefer not to at this time because I see them as a distraction from what I consider to be a deeper point.

Good point. To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

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