Creating mnemonic devices for simple lists of information that you need to memorize can be a pretty easy task, but what happens if you have to memorize a list of information that may be quite a bit longer, lacking in words starting with vowels and must stay in order for that information to retain its usefulness. Often times, a basic word forming mnemonic device simply will not work for such information – requiring you to use another form of mnemonics which will allow you to create a phrase instead.
Now, depending on how your mind works, coming up with a phrase may be a bit more difficult than coming up with a word as your mnemonic device. Personally, I find it far easier to make a phrase, sentence or poem as a mnemonic device than I do to make a word. After all, words have to follow specific rules. They have to have consonants, vowels and actually make a bit of sense.
On the other hand, if you create your own phrase style mnemonic device, the skies are the limit and you have full creative freedom to make whatever mnemonic device you see fit – no matter how off the wall it may sound to someone else.
When would you need to come up with a phrase style mnemonic device? Well, as mentioned earlier, a phrase style mnemonic device can be used whenever a word forming style mnemonic device is used but they especially come in handy during three special circumstances: when the information you need to memorize has to be in order for it to be useful, when you have an exceptionally long list of information that would be impractical to quickly turn into a word, and when the information that you need to memorize consists of many of the same letters – making it impossible to form a coherent word with the necessary data.
Let us begin our quest for the perfect phrase forming style mnemonic device by going back to our example with the Great Lakes. You already know that you can use the names of the Great Lakes to create a word forming style mnemonic device – HOMES, but what if you have to remember the Great Lakes in a specific order. For example, let us assume that you are taking a geography class and your teacher tells you that on the test you will have to memorize the Great Lakes in order from West to East.
Now, in this case, your previously created mnemonic device of HOMES will not be useful at all because the lakes are not in order from West to East under that acronym. Instead, you should create a phrase style mnemonic device that will allow you to remember the names of the Great Lakes from West to East. So you do not have to look them up, here is the order in which they should go: