Why certain phrases are memorable


13 Responses to “Why certain phrases are memorable”

  1. Mark Dow says:

    Honey badger don’t care.

  2. shannigans says:

    They don’t think it be like it is, but it do.   -Oscar Gamble

  3. awjt says:

    Don’t besmirchify the splendourosity of pithiness.

  4. ecologist says:

    Just looked at (though haven’t read) the paper on arXiv, and the authors win the internet for the best section titles in a scientific paper. Ever.

  5. felonmarmer says:

    If people use these rules to make phrases more memorable (as you know some arseholes will), then all the phrases will all be the same and none will stand out. Bet it happens too,

  6. goldenearth says:

    All the legwork and research is admirable, I suppose. But isn’t it sufficient to simply state that some phrases are memorable and some aren’t? Counting words and pronouns and line lengths seems COMPLETELY OVER THE TOP

    There’s really NO REASON TO GILD THE LILY unless you’re the TOP BANANA and want to KNOCK IT OUT OF THE PARK

  7. noah django says:

    “So memorable phrases contain generic pearls of wisdom expressed with unusual combinations of words in ordinary sentences.”

    Noted.  I hope this is a graduate-student study at Cornell.  If these people are professors getting paid for this research…  all of my sour grapes.

  8. SoItBegins says:

    Phrases like ‘correct horse battery staple’?

  9. niktemadur says:

    One of my favorite phrases is mnemonic: “Oh Be A Fine Girl, Kiss Me”.
    Nearly impossible to forget, each first letter is a type of common star, in order, from hottest to coolest.  Our fat old sun is of the yellow G-type.

    Here’s another:  “Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs”, nice because it contains every letter of the alphabet, a slightly naughtier alternative to “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”.

    One more:  “Naomi, sex at noon taxes, I moan”.  Can you figure out why it’s special?

    • penguinchris says:

      I’d like to point out that besides that type of thing not being what they’re talking about, all of your example sentences are not easy for me to remember. 

      Those sorts of things never worked for me to remember sequences of whatever precisely because the sentences aren’t memorable – they’re nothing like the memorable sentences or phrases this study is about. 

      Plus I have a hard time remembering things in general, but, I don’t think I’m alone in not finding those sentences useful. I think the effort you put into memorizing the sentence could go straight into memorizing the actual sequence (of planet types or whatever it is you wish to remember).

    • noah django says:

      palindrome.  what do I win?
      I like the “pack my box” one.

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