Spelling Mnemonics: Tricks to Learn Irregularly Spelled Words

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There is a ‘hell’ in ‘Hello’, ‘lie’ in ‘Believe’ and ‘if’ in ‘Life’. Sounds like a life lesson, doesn’t it? Well, these are actually tricks to remember the spelling of the trickiest parts of those words. Otherwise, one might spell them ‘Halo’ or ‘Belive’.

The above mentioned trick is one of the most used techniques to teach students the correct spelling of a word.

It is called a spelling mnemonic, a device often used to teach words with irregular spelling.

Does the term sound foreign to you?

It isn’t.

Spelling Mnemonic Definition

So let’s start with the basic. What is Spelling Mnemonic?

Mnemonic is a tool or procedure used for improving memory. It takes information from what the learner already knows and connects those information with the target word or any other content.

Simply put, it helps us learn a new thing and remember it through sentences, images etc.

This way the learner can relate the newly learned content to their familiar things; therefore, becomes familiar with the content faster.

There are multiple techniques of mnemonic including phonetic mnemonics, spelling mnemonics, keywords, acronyms, the ‘Yodai’ method etc.

When to Use Spelling Mnemonics

Consider the word ‘Queue’. It is difficult for children or ESL students to remember the spelling of a word that sounds only like the first letter. That is where the mnemonics come handy.

Spelling Mnemonics are the best for spelling the words that doesn’t follow the traditional spelling rules. Here are some of the cases:

Silent Letter

Words with silent letters are tricky to spell, especially if you’re using phonetic spelling methods. For example:

  • Silent-C: Muscle, Scene, Conscious
  • Silent-D: Edge, Knowledge, Wednesday
  • Silent-G: Reign, Design, High, Gnome
  • Silent-K: Knowledge, Knight, Knit
  • Silent-T: Often, Listen
  • And many more

Double Letters

Some of the words contains double letters that can’t be heard when pronounced such as

  • Double-O: Zoo, Book, Spoon
  • Double-P: Happy, Disappoint
  • Double-E: See, Bee, Eel, Fees, Knee
  • Double-S: Assumption, Blossom, Processing

What other words with double letters do you find hard to spell?

Irregular Spelling Patterns

These types of words often sound different than they are spelled. The spelling rules are also invalid in these cases. For example:


Long e

Short e

Long a


Leaf, Plead








Achieved, Believe





Gain, Plain


Learning phonetic spelling can help you understand the proper pronunciation. Check out examples of phonetic spelling to accelerate your learning speed.

Common Irregularly spelled words

Cold, Brought, Eyes, Father, Enough, From etc.

Make Your Own Spelling Mnemonics

It is a proven fact that you remember topics better when you have some practical experience them rather than simple memorizing facts. So obviously, the best way to remember a spelling mnemonic is to make one yourself.

The process itself helps you to understand and remember the spelling better. You can make your own strategies, assign words that are easier for you to remember. Here is how you make your own mnemonic:

Sentence Making

  • Take the first letter of the word to remember and assign a word
  • Repeat it till the end of the word.
  • Make a sentence with the assigned words. It is okay if it doesn’t make much sense! The sillier they are, the better.
  • You can change the assigned words to make the sentence easier to remember.
  • It’s a clever idea to assign the new word to the first letter and make a sentence related to it.


Does: Dad only eats sardines.

Sail: Sail Across Inari Lake

Rhythm: Rhythm Makes Your Two Hips Move

  • You can assign a word to a chunk of letters instead of just one.


Friend: FRIday END

Foreign: FOR Eating Ice, Go North

Remember the Tricky Parts

  • Find the parts of the word you struggle to remember. Is it the double letters or the silent letter?
  • Assign words or items to those letter.


The word Necessary has a Collar and two Sleeves.

The word can accommodate 2 C and 2 M.

Find words inside the bigger word, make sentences to remember them.


Emma faced a dilemma.Spelling Mnemonics: Tricks to Learn Irregularly Spelled Words

Be sure of your measurements.

Here, there, everywhere!


Are you curious to find out creative spelling art activities? Check out this guide!

Online Mnemonic Generator

There are a number of online mnemonic generator that will make mnemonics for the word you need to remember. But remember, the mnemonics they generate might be difficult for you to remember. So consider them as ideas to make your own.


Spacefem is an online mnemonic generator where you need to enter the target word and they will assign a word to each of its letter. They won’t generate a functional sentence though.

The Mnemonicizer

They help you make your own mnemonics using the letters of the word you want to learn. They provide a list of words for each letter and you can also add your own.

Popular Mnemonics

You can always use the popular mnemonics that never fails. They are widely used and easy to find on the internet. Here is a list of mnemonics for words that are often misspelled:

  • Never believe a lie.
  • That liar looks familiar.
  • Miss Pell never misspell
  • I Got Hairy Toes (-IGHT words such as Light, Might, Bright)
  • Have a piece of the pie.
  • A Rat In The House May Eat The Ice Cream. (Arithmetic)
  • Slaughter is laughter with an S.
  • You need to get her and you’ll be together.
  • Desert is sandy but dessert is sweetly sweet.
  • Can’t Open My Eyes (Come)
  • You hear with your ear.
  • Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants (Because)
  • Your principal is your pal.
  • I saw an ad for a dress at this address.
  • People Eat Orange Peels Like Elephants (People)
  • Right! I Go Home Tonight! (Right)
  • I ‘c’ that you want to acquire it.
  • Silly Aunts In Dresses (Said)
  • Laugh And You Get Happy (Laugh)
  • I put the sass in assassin.
  • Every New Ostriches Use Green Hat (Enough)
  • An island is land surrounded by water.
  • There is always a rat in separat
  • CIA has special agents.
  • Only Cats’ Eyes Are Narrow (Ocean)
  • Oh You Lucky Duck (Could, Would, Should)

What other mnemonics do you know that might help to remember a complex word?

Spelling Rhymes to Remember

Rhymes are a fun way to learn spelling and not just kids, even older students love it. Remember the movie ‘Matilda’ where the students learnt spelling ‘Difficulty’ with a rhyme?

Mrs. D, Mrs. I

Mrs. F-F-I

Mrs. C, Mrs. U

Mrs. L-T-Y

Let’s spell another word using this rhyme.

Mrs. M, Mrs. I

Mrs. S-S-I

Mrs. S-S-I

Mrs. P-P-I

Can you guess the word? That’s right.

It’s Mississippi!

Rhyming is a technique that always comes handy in teaching spelling. Students can easily memorize Rhyme Spelling Mnemonics as they are stored by acoustic encoding in their brains.

You can make a rhyme with the letters, or you might make rhymes about the rules too. For example:

I before E

Except after C

Or when sounded A

As in neighbour and weigh


Q and U

Stick like a glue

When -ing comes to play

E runs away

You can also make rhymes with similarly spelled words to remember. That makes it easier for students to remember more words.

The cat ate a rat

And after that

The naughty cat sat

On a big yellow mat

Can you make a rhyme for a word the kids need to learn how to spell? How about you teach your students to make their own rhymes?

Try these fun activities in class to keep your students engaged with the seemingly boring lessons!

Learn more about the stages of spelling development. Check out our thorough guide now!

Spelling Mnemonics for Struggling Spellers

Think about soccer. If you don’t improve your passing skill, no matter which passing technique you use, the result will always be disappointing.

Just like that, spelling mnemonics instructions are mostly based on memory techniques. So you need to improve your child’s memory skill first.

The problem with spelling mnemonic is that it misses the idea of sequential learning. And that is for valid reason as it mainly deals with the words with irregular spelling.

But for children with learning disabilities, who mostly depend on the sequence, patterns and rules, this technique might be overwhelming. They might mix up those rhymes and other instructions which leads to incorrect spelling.

However, if you teach your child the skill of memory first, then they can use the technique without much effort. You can also check your child’s progress with SpellQuiz Spelling Test and find out if they are using the instructions successfully.

But spelling mnemonics can be of special use who struggles to learn with traditional methods, namely memorization. It is helpful to those who face difficulties with specific strategies. Spelling mnemonics give them a different way to approach the words. They can get creative with building their own mnemonics.

Final Thoughts

Always make sure you remember the spelling mnemonics correctly, especially the ones you made yourself.

  • Maintain a notebook and write down the mnemonics.
  • Print posters of mnemonics and hang them on the wall of your room or classroom.
  • Use images of assigned words and the target word.
  • Revise them once in a while.

The uses of mnemonics are not only limited to spelling learning. You can use those techniques to teach months of a year, planet names and many more. Try the methods given above to expand your vocabulary along with your students. Use SpellQuiz Vocabulary Test to assess your vocabulary collection.

Happy Spelling!

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