Memorizing Phone Numbers with the PAO System, adding Adjectives

I’m new at both mnemotechnics and this site, so maybe I post this at the wrong place.

I’m from the Netherlands and we have mobile phonenumbers starting with 06 and then 8 digits. This made me think of the idea of adding adjectives to the PAO system. For example (using familiar ones):

15 - P - Albert Einstein, A - Writing on Blackboard, O - Chalk, A - Red
54 - P - Michael Jackson, A - Moonwalking, O - White Glove, A - Dirty

Which would make:

Michael Jackson moonwalking with a dirty glove.

Or maybe fitting better in the original system:

Michael Jackson moonwalking with a glove that is dirty.

That would be a convenient way to grasp 4x2=8 digits = a complete telephonenumber.

Does this make any sense? Or has it been tried before and is it a bad idea?
Are there far smarter alternatives?


This makes complete sense jprott. Similar ideas have been tried before, adding extra parts to a PAO, like tools, concepts, including adjectives. Unfortunately, a lot of people like to come to this site for help, then disappear. They don’t keep us up-to-date with how their idea worked for them. So that could mean that it worked, and they disappeared because they didn’t need our help any more. :stuck_out_tongue:

The adjective thing could definitely work if you can visually picture it. I’ve seen similar ideas for colour and appearance be added to objects to memorise other types of information. Red meaning this, blue meaning this, white meaning this, shiny meaning this…etc. and it seems to have worked there.

For me, in situations such as that with 8 digits, I give my image 2 objects. So it’s a person, action, 2 objects. PAOO That works for me. :slight_smile:
Your adjective idea could also work, though I haven’t tried it myself, but if you can vividly picture the feature, then I don’t see any reason it couldn’t work!

Thanks Hype.
As said, I’m new to it and even still working on my P-list (it’s quite hard to find usable alternatives for the common suggestions of American famous people that don’t appeal to me), but your reply surely encourages to move on. If it works, I’ll let it know, if not, I’ll probably forget… :slight_smile:

Hi Jprott,

I am also from the Netherlands, so maybe I can help you out with the Dutch particularities.

Yes, it would. You would need to find 100 uniquely different adjectives, and after that

It makes sense, it is not a bad idea and there might be different alternatives but my suggestion would be to try it out and let us know how your system progresses. Again, if you need help with Dutch famous people or anything, just let me know.

Hi Kinma,

As we speak, I’m trying to update my list of famous people.
Do you have one on-line? I am really struggling with it.

By the way, I am still not sure if I will use S for a 6, or just F.
Also depends on the names I will think of.


There is no need to stick to Dominic’s coding scheme.
You can either make one up, use Dominic’s, or use Hype’s or this one.
Some are using the Major System for coding the number into letters.

Use the scheme above for inspiration. Then decide on one.

Earlier I was a huge enthusiast of PAO method. However I’ve discovered that this technique is quite ok for tournaments: for colors and numbers without facts but it is hard to use in daily life. The reason is that many of your images will be repeated.

IMO it is better idea to use Major System for phone numbers. Why? Cause you can create an image on fly ad mix them with a list of prepared images for 0-99. So there is no risk to double image like two Einsteins or two similar activity. You cannot do it with PAO and that’s the reason why I don’t recommend to use it on phone numbers.

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I’m strictly Major system when it comes to numbers (with rhyming associations if I need single-digit versions of 1-9). I’ve tried PAO for playing cards, where it works very well, but I actually never need (or really want) to memorize cards, so it fell by the wayside.

If you’re memorizing a lot of 8-digit phone numbers, you’ll end up with four objects per locus. That may feel like too much or too complicated. It can help to associate those first two digits with a single person; that way, the person can interact with whatever objects follow. (I have straight Major associations—objects only—for 00-99, as well as people associations for 00-99. I just use whichever one’s right for a particular job.)

There’s also absolutely nothing wrong with creating people or objects on the fly; you don’t have to have memorized, set lists. As long as those people/objects are clearly based on whatever system you’re using—Dominic, Major, whatever—you’ll be fine. In Major, sometimes 12 for me is “tan,” sometimes it’s a clock (representing noon). Since I don’t use a clock to mean anything but 12, that’s not an issue.