Photo by cottonbro studio:

18 Spanish Mnemonics for Grammar and Vocabulary

Mnemonics are things you create in your mind to help you remember things because they’re somehow associated with them—such as acronyms, funny stories, images, etc. And there are several that can help you remember Spanish vocabulary and difficult grammar rules, which we’ll go over in this guide.


Most Useful Spanish Mnemonics

“Vin Diesel has ten weapons”

This mnemonic is used to help you remember the irregular Spanish imperative verbs (also known as Spanish commands). They are:

  • VenirVen (come)
  • DecirDi (say)
  • Salir Sal (leave, go out)
  • HacerHaz (do)
  • TenerTen (have)
  • IrVe (go)
  • PonerPon (put)
  • Ser (be)

When you say the conjugation verbs right after each other, it sounds like “Vin Diesel has ten weapons.” Ven Di Sal Haz Ten Ve Pon Sé.


The acronym WEIRDO helps you remember when to use the subjunctive mood instead of the indicative mood. It stands for:

  • Wishes
  • Emotions
  • Impersonal expressions
  • Requests/Recommendations
  • Doubt/Denial
  • Ojalá

When your sentence falls under any of these categories, you know to use the subjunctive mood. For example:

Espero que vengas a la fiesta. (I hope you come to the party.)

Me alegro de que hayas dormido bien. (I’m glad you slept well.)

Es bueno que ella pueda aprender español en la escuela. (It’s good that she can learn Spanish at school.)

Curated authentic video library for all levels
  • Thousands of learner friendly videos (especially beginners)
  • Handpicked, organized, and annotated by FluentU's experts
  • Integrated into courses for beginners
Learn more about FluentU
Learn more about FluentU


DISHES is an acronym to help you remember which verbs are irregular in the subjunctive: Dar, Ir, Saber, Haber, Estar and Ser.

“This and these are the ones with the Ts”

This rhyme helps you differentiate between ese/esa (that) and este/esta (this). Este/esta means “this” and estos/estas means “these.” Whereas ese/esa means “that” and esos/esas  means “those.”

So “this” (este/esta) and “these” (estos/estas) have “Ts,” but ese/esa (that) and esos/esas (those) do not.


RID stands for Reflexive, Indirect and Direct. It’s the order that object pronouns follow in a sentence. For example:

Se la regalé. (I gave it to her)

Te me acercaste. (you approached me)

Se me olvidó. (I forgot.)

More Spanish Mnemonics for Vocabulary

  • The word for “library.” The word biblioteca sounds a bit like discoteca (club). So to remember the Spanish for “library” you could think, “The discotheque for Bibles and other books is a biblioteca.
  • The word for “bread.” When I first started learning Spanish, I would remember the word for bread because I had already studied Japanese, and bread in Japanese is also pan. But another idea would be to think, “Only in Venezuela do they cook bread in a pan.”
  • The word for “difficult.” A lot of people struggle to remember the accent in difícil, so why not combine that with a mnemonic that helps you remember what it means? “It’s difficult to remember the accent in the middle of difícil.
  • The word for “money.” This one is somewhat more well-known: “Actor Robert Dinero has a lot of money.”
  • Days of the week. There are a range of sentence mnemonics out there for remembering the Spanish days of the week. A popular one is “Lucy Makes My Journeys Very Special Delights” to go from lunes (Monday) through domingo (Sunday). You can find more mnemonics for the days of the week here and here.
  • How to say “I say.” This irregular conjugation of the verb decirdigo—can be remembered with this mnemonic: “Oh, I dig it, I say.”
  • The word for “knife.” People often confuse the Spanish word for “knife” (cuchillo) with the word for spoon (cuchara). The Ls in cuchillo could be said to look a bit like knives.
  • The word for “carry.” It’s easy to confuse the word for “carry” with the word for “crap,” or “screw up.” That little hard-to-pronounce R is what can guarantee that you say the word for carry (cargar) instead of the word for “crap,” cagar. Here’s my mnemonic: “You need to carry an extra R, or you’ll screw up and be in the s**t.”
  • The word for “older.” Another word that can be confused with similar words, you can remember the meaning of mayor with this mnemonic: “The town mayor is older than me.”
  • The word for “success.” As it’s easily confused with a completely different English word, remember what éxito means with this: “You have successfully exited Windows.”
  • The word for “crash.” The Spanish word chocar refers to when cars crash, but it’s also useful when something is shocking. This mnemonic could help you: “Cars don’t choke each other, they crash or collide.”
  • The word for “sleep.” Honestly, I think of a dormouse when I think of dormir. The little creature is cute, and you can imagine it sleeping. If that image mnemonic doesn’t work, you can also think, “Close the door before you sleep.”
  • The word for “tomorrow.” Mañana is always fun since it means “tomorrow” and “morning.” Spanish speakers find nothing odd about saying mañana por la mañana to say tomorrow morning. To remember this word, you can use the mnemonic “a banana in the morning.”

How to Create Your Own Mnemonics

Oftentimes, just the process of creating your own mnemonic can be enough to get you to remember the information you’re trying to learn. But when it’s not, you still have the mnemonic itself to help you.

Here are some different ways to make your own mnemonics:

Video player for learners like you
  • Interactive subtitles: click any word to see detailed examples and explanations
  • Slow down or loop the tricky parts
  • Show or hide subtitles
  • Review words with our powerful learning engine
Learn more about FluentU
Learn more about FluentU
  • Stories. Let’s say you want to remember the word otro for “other.” You make up a story about an otter who was asked out, but she chose the other otter. “Otter” sounds close enough to otro that it will jog your memory.
  • Acronyms. It can be hard to come up with these, but they can be good for remembering lists like numbers or groups of words—the words for relatives, for example. Say you want to remember mamá, papá, abuelo, abuela. You could use the acronym MAAP and think about a map of a family.
  • Sentences. Similar to acronyms, this is a technique for remembering lists. To remember the numbers uno, dos, tres, cuatro, your sentence could be “Under David’s trendy car.”
  • Rhymes and songs. Children often learn the alphabet of their native language by singing it to a tune, and you can apply the same technique to groups of Spanish words, lists of irregular conjugations and other lists.
  • Word and sound associations. This is one of the easiest types of mnemonics to create. You know how at school you were taught that a “stalactite” is the upside-down one because it hangs on tightly to the ceiling? You can apply this method to new Spanish words as well.
  • Stressed syllables. Where you put the stress in Spanish words matters—it can go as far as communicating which tense you’re using. So Master of Memory recommends only remembering the stressed part of the word first, then the rest will naturally be easy to remember. For example, estar and para.
  • Chunking. This is a mnemonic technique where you learn word phrases that you can later piece together. For example, with the sentence Me gusta mucho salir contigo, you would remember me gusta mucho (I really like) and salir contigo (going out with you) separately so you could use them each in other sentences.

How Mnemonics Can Help You Learn Spanish

Mnemonics help us with some of the more tedious aspects of language learning, or those words that just won’t stick. The days of the week become rhymes, or a confusing word becomes a tiny story that makes it memorable.

Mnemonics are just creative devices that help us retain information. They depend a lot on association with things we already know—something our brain is very good at, and good at doing quickly. With languages, visual people may imagine words as pictures, or verbal people may use rhymes to help them remember a list, like the months of the year.


I remember being hesitant to study languages in high school because I imagined copying lists of words over and over. But that’s the worst way to learn Spanish, and in reality, language learning can and should be a lot of fun.

Mnemonics is one fun method, and there’s also online games, Spanish songs you can listen to, movies and YouTube videos, jokes, slang and more.

So, get out there and engage in your own wild and creative learning. And most importantly, enjoy it.

And One More Thing…

If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.

Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.

FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:


FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.


Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.


Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.


The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. All annual subscriptions now on sale!

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe