Phonetic Numbers ("the major system")

The Linking Lists section showed how to remember long lists by visualizing the items. The secret to memorizing numbers is to do the same, but first we find a way to replace numbers with words that can be visualized.

For example, which of the following two things would you rather remember?


A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.

Would you believe that you have already memorized that 20-digit number just by reading the sentence below it? By the end of this section you will be able to recite that number without even looking at it again. Even better, you'll be able to turn any number that you want to remember into a phrase or list of words.

What This System is Not

You are most likely already familiar with one way to make words from numbers. On most telephones every number from 2 to 9 is labeled with several letters. Many companies buy a number that spells their name or a word associated with their product (555-FOOD). It is sometimes possible to take an existing phone number and make a word out of it, but this doesn't always work. The number 1 isn't even labeled with a letter, and some number combinations, like ‘5797,’ don't have any vowels.

The system that you're about to learn can be used to memorize any number. It is much easier to translate the numbers into words compared to the telephone method, and just as easy to recall.