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 Dear Mitch,

Could you give a few more of those tricks to memorize vocabulary words that you call mnemonics? 

They really helped with words that were on my list but wouldn't stick in my head no matter what I tried until I tried the way you recommended. It worked right away, so thank you. And a few more please...

Prince B. 

Brentwood, CA


Dear Prince,

Sure! We've been delighted by the range of positive response we've received today at on this topic.

I somehow assumed that the whole idea of memory tricks – one customized trick per word – was such a commonly used technique that I was just hoping to remind people to use it! And yet so many people emailed us just to say that they don't think they've ever even heard of the method being used for a big test like this, but found it effective once they tried it.

Now, the key is not to try to force too many into your head at once, so here are a few more, and I'd be happy to keep posting a few whenever anyone requests it, but too many at once can be counter-productive. (Because you still have to remember something!)



Definition: meager

First, think: If you have ever heard it used, chances are you heard it in conjunction with a number, and just preceding that number. EXAMPLE: "They expected us to live on a paltry five dollars per week!"

Even if you have no idea what it means, you know it is used with a number, and usually in a negative sense, like a complaint. So try the choices, substituting them one at a time. And, for example, if one choice is 'happy', you get: "They expected us to live on a happy five dollars per week!" No.

Now, for the mnemonic: If you have to live on a meager amount of money, like a paltry fifty cents per day, you are not going to be eating a lot of steak, well-crafted sushi, or lobster. No, you will probably have to satisfy your non-vegetarian taste with chicken, or some other form of poultry.

Paltry amount leads to poultry diet.



Definition: a gap, like a break in the work schedule for a short vacation

LISTEN: Mad Mo almost never says hello to us. He is not friendly at all. But, believe it or not, when he was on vacation, he said HI to us AT the GAP.

When he was on his break, his hiatus, he actually shouted, 'HI'-AT-US at the GAP

Try it.



Definition: Love? NOOOO!!!! Archery? NOOOO!!!!


I have heard that some people who have plenty of money and many extravagant possessions still hold out a CUP to beg for more.

GREEDY with the CUP: cupidity.



DEFINITION: unnecessary

You may have seen the word on a menu or on a sign in a restaurant: "Gratuities included." What does that mean? It means the tip is included in the bill.

Tipping is part of our culture and absolutely expected and appropriate in a wide range of situations, most notably, of course, for waitresses and waiters. That is how they make their living. HOWEVER, technically, the practice was meant to be an extra bit of generosity, and therefore unnecessary. And, technically, it is possible to have dinner in a restaurant and then exit without leaving a tip (or gratuity), because the law deems it unnecessary.

Gratuitous: unnecessary.

Hope this helps,