Mnemonic Weekly Tip: # 39          June 22, 2003
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The Problem
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The last mnemonic clue or clues dealt with the problems caused by the words unanimous and anonymous. (If you missed it you can find Mnemonic Clue of the Week 38 on the web site: The clues involved how to distinguish these words and remember their meaning. This week the problem is how to remember the spelling of these two words.
The Mnemonic Clue
These spelling clues may be confusing to individuals who do not have a problem with spelling; remember that the individuals who find these clues helpful think very differently than the most people.
The following clues can help people remember the spelling of unanimous and anonymous. Several clues are provided because what works for one person may not work for another. The first technique for the spelling of the word anonymous uses the mnemonic clue for remembering the definition of anonymous -- a non you. This provides the person with most of the letters in the word. The m and s are added by remembering that both words unanimous and anonymous are adjectives and end in mous. The person spells anonymous a non y ou then adds the m and s -- a non y m ou s.
If the person can spell anonymous, or has learned to spell it using the clue detailed above, the spelling of unanimous can be linked to the spelling of anonymous. Both words end in mous, preceeded by either a y or an i. This gives us ymous and imous. Both words begin with the letter combination: vowel the letter n vowel and the letter n. Adding this element to the ending of both words looks like this: _ n _ n ymous and _ n _ n imous. Since the letter e does not appear in either word, it is not one of the vowels. We fill in the a and o in the word anonymous because we recall a non you. For the word unanimous, we place a u in front of the n and then we can use the a that is the first letter in anonymous to remember the second vowel.
Spelling Stacks is another technique that can be used with these words. Stacks provide individuals with a memorable pattern for each word. Knowing that both words have nine letters is part of the memory clue.
u  n  a  n  i  m  o  u  s

a  n  o  n  y  m  o  u  s

u n a n
m o u s

n o n
m o
u s

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Richard Cooper