What acronyms help you remember things? What are the advantages and disadvantages for using acronyms?


Noun. An abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word (e.g. ASCIINASA )

Key Points


Many English teachers use acronyms as mnemonics to help students remember important terminology. Popular mnemonics for important terminology include: DAFOREST, PEE, FREE 5 TIGERS



Direct Address Facts Opinion Repetition Rhetorical Question Emotive Language Statistics (Rule of) Three

I have seen DAFOREST used a great deal in classrooms. It is very helpful for assisting students to remember important points for analysing the language in a text, but it can lead to some very disjointed writing and feature-spotting.

Learn more:




Point Evidence Explanation

Most English teachers at the time of writing encourage their students to write PEE paragraphs, to make a Point, to provide Evidence to back up the point, and then to Explain why their evidence endorses their point.



Another well-known acronym is:


Each letter represents a type of analysis:

Figure it out — use your intuition, always THINK!

Rhyme – look for the way a poem rhymes and why it rhymes that way.

Evidence — everything has to be backed up with evidence/quotation.

Explanation – explain what is happening in a quote.

5 Ws – e.g. What is happening? Where is it happening? Who is it happening to? When did it happen? Why is it being written about?

Themes – Discuss the ideas and concept that are explored in a text.

Imagery – Look at all the poetic devices in a text: the metaphors, similes, personification, onomatopoeia, alliteration.

Genre – Look at the type of text, and the conventions of that genre; how does the text both conform and subvert the genre?

Evaluation – How effective is the text and why?

Rhythm – Analyze the rhythmic effects in the language.

Structure – Analyze the structure of the text and think about how its form and structure shape meanings in a text.


Teachers should encourage students to come up with their own acronyms as they will probably better remember them because they are ‘invested’ in their own idea.


Don’t make acronyms and repetition your only way of helping students remember important terminology. Students need to read widely and arrive at organic readings of texts which embrace their meaning and effects together.

Think of your own acronym to help you with your learning.


About @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing ( which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network,, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.
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