Acrostics

A Memory Curiosity


This memory technique involves looking at a list of words or sentences that you're trying to remember, and taking the first letter of each word to form a new word or sentence.

How to Use the Tool:

Look at the list, the sentence, or even the long name that you need to remember and write down in order the first letter of each word. Use these letters to form an acrostic that you can easily recall to ensure you remember the list or log name.

Common acrostics include: NHL (National Hockey League) and USA (United States of America). Another example, perhaps more useful within the business arena is: Marketing Director Alicia Stroud (use the mathematical order of operations: Multiply and Divide before Adding and Subtracting).

While Acrostics are useful as memory techniques, often it is difficult to match the information being remembered with a useful or memorable acrostic. Given that there are many good memory techniques which serve as easier alternatives, this makes them something of a curiosity, and little more than this.

Example:

You may have heard of acrostic puzzles. These are popular quotation puzzles made famous by the New York Times. In fact, these puzzles are in such high demand that the New York Times has published nine volumes of acrostic puzzles for the puzzle enthusiast.

By starting each line of prose with a letter that is used to form an overall word, acrostics has also made it’s way into poetry.

Example:

Here is an example of this use (as taken from a poem by William Anderson Ellis), with the ending word, or the acrostic being FAREWELL.

Farewell, dear, young friends;
       though parting is painful,
A sad separation approaches at last.
Revilers may spurn me,
       lost friends may chide me;
Even then with much pleasure
       I'll think on the past.
When rivers divide us and
       hills rise between us,
Even then I'll remember
       your childhood bright days.
Let not sad reflections
       a moment beguile you;
Look forward with hope on
       future's bright

Key Points:

Acrostics function by taking the first letters of each word in a sentence, or the first letter of each line in a poem, and using them to create a new word or sentence. In some cases acrostics can be useful as a memory technique, however these cases are often quite limited and many other techniques are more reliable.



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