When you’re applying mnemonics, you can use the following plan:

  1. Create mnemonics. They can be arbitrary (jumping = masculine for no reason, just jumping is fun), or there can be a logic to it (exploding = masculine, because the first thing I think about with ‘exploding’ is Arnold Schwarzenegger exploding things in a movie, and Arnold is the epitome of masculinity to me). Having a touch of logic is usually more effective, when you can swing it.
  2. Memorize mnemonics. I like to use the mnemonic flashcards in the model deck in the Gallery to do that.
  3. When you create a flashcard for “cou” (neck, masculine), make a note on the backside of the card about the GENDER. Not the mnemonic, just the gender.
  4. Later, you’ll review “cou.” Before you get to the back side of that flashcard, test yourself on the gender. Do you remember that it’s “le cou” rather than “la cou”? If you remember correctly, then move to the next card. If you DON’T remember, then proceed to step 5. 
  5. NOW create a story in your head for “cou” plus exploding. Picture walking down the street when suddenly your neck explodes. Make it vivid and gory and awful. Hit the “Wrong” button, so “cou” will come back later in your review session.
  6. When “cou” comes back, repeat step #4. You will probably remember the gender now. If not, repeat step #5 but make the story more vivid, or change the story to something completely unrelated. Hit the “wrong” button, so that “cou” will come back later in your review session. Then you keep repeating this step if needed until you find the right story that will actually stick. In practice, you usually don’t need to repeat step #6 more than once.

That’s it!

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