How to Memorize Verbatim Text

This page discusses some common memory techniques for memorizing text word-for-word (verbatim).

Views on Verbatim Memorization

The ancient mnemonists (like Quintilian ) distinguished between memoria rerum (memory for things) and memoria verborum (memory for exact words). The conclusion back then, and now, is that memoria verborum is much more difficult than memoria rerum :

‘Things’ are thus the subject matter of the speech; ‘words’ are the language in which that subject matter is clothed. Are you aiming at an artificial memory to remind you only of the order of the notions, arguments, ‘things’ of your speech? Or do you aim at memorising every single word in it in the right order? The first kind of artificial memory is memoria rerum ; the second kind is memoria verborum . The ideal, as defined by Cicero in the above passage, would be to have a ‘firm perception in the soul’ of both things and words. But ‘memory for words’ is much harder than ‘memory for things’; the weaker brethren among the author of Ad Herennium’s rhetoric students evidently rather jibbed at memorising an image for every single word, and even Cicero himself, as we shall see later, allowed that ‘memory for things’ was enough. [ The Art of Memory by Frances Yates]

Before deciding to memorize every word, consider whether you really need to know every word or just the concepts in the book. For example, if you are trying to learn a text book, or even a speech or presentation that you have written yourself, you don’t probably need to try to memorize every word.

If you want to memorize verbatim text, you should familiarize yourself with basic mnemonics , mnemonic images and the memory palace technique .

Words in a book

Additional Resources

Here are some forum threads and other pages on this topic:

  • How to Memorize a Book
  • Lanier Verbatim Memory System
  • Verbatim App: Memorizing texts word-for-word
  • How & How Much
  • Working on a system to memorize text verbatim
  • Need Ideas for a System to Memorize Scripture
  • Memorizing the Bible
  • Bible Scripture Verbatim Process and My Visual Alphabet Simple Application
  • What have you achieved using mnemonics?
  • Seeking adivces on Memorising Prufrock by T. S. Eliot
  • Revelation 20
  • What to do when you’re stuck on a word/phrase?

Feedback and Comments

What did you think about this article? Do you have any questions, or is there anything that could be improved? We would love to hear from you! You can leave a comment after clicking on a face below.

Improve Your Memory

More memory skills.

How to memorise essays and long responses

how to memorize an essay word for word

Lauren Condon

Marketing Specialist at Atomi

how to memorize an essay word for word

When it comes to memorising essays or long responses for your exams, there are three big things to consider.

  • Should you even try to memorise an essay?
  • Do you know how to adapt your memorised response to the exam question?
  • How on earth are you meant to memorise a 1,200 word essay??

It’s a lot to weigh up but we can help you out here. If you want an answer to the first question, here’s one we prepared earlier. But wait, there’s more! If you’re super keen to read more about question #2, then go ahead and click here .

And for that third point on how to actually memorise a long essay? Well, all you have to do is keep reading...

1. Break it down

Your essay/long response/creative writing piece could be anywhere between 800 and 1,200 words long. Yeah… that’s a lot. So when it comes to memorising the whole thing, it’s a lot easier to break the answer down into logical chunks and work on memorising it bit by bit.

So if you want to memorise your Discovery Essay, you might have something like this:

  • Introduction
  • Theme 1 with the assigned text
  • Theme 1 with the related text
  • Theme 2 with the assigned text
  • Theme 2 with the related text

You’re going to want to memorise the paragraphs and pay attention to the structure then you can piece it all together in the exam. Having a killer structure makes it a lot easier to remember the overall bones of this situation and if you’re finding this effective, you can even break those body paragraphs down further like topic sentence > example > explanation > connection to thesis.

2. Use memory tricks

Now, there are lots of different strategies and approaches when it comes to memorising a long piece of writing. Moving in sections, you can try reading it out loud over again (slowly looking at the paper less and less) or the classic look-cover-write-check approach. If you’re really struggling, make some of your own flashcards that have the first sentence on one side and the next sentence on the back so you can test your progress.

You could also enlist the help of some creative mnemonics (memory tricks) to remind you which sentence or section needs to come next. Pick one keyword from each sentence in the paragraph and turn them into a silly sentence to help you remember the structure of the paragraph and to make sure you don’t forget one of your awesome points.

3. Play to your strengths

Not all of us are super geniuses that can just read an essay and then memorise the entire thing but we’re all going to have our own strengths. There’s going to be something whether it’s art, music, writing, performance or sport that just ‘clicks’ in your brain and this is what you want to capitalise on. So for me, I was really into debating and public speaking (hold back the jokes please) and was used to giving speeches and remembering them. So whenever I wanted to memorise a long response, I would write out the essay onto palm cards and then practice it out loud like a speech. Did it annoy my family? Yes. Was I too embarrassed to tell people my strategy? Yes. Did it work? Absolutely. 💯

Whatever your strengths are, find a way to connect them to your essay and come up with a creative way of learning your long response that will be much easier and more effective for you!

4. Start early

So you know how there’s that whole long-term/short-term memory divide? Yeah well that’s going to be pretty relevant when it comes to memorising. You’re going to have a much better chance of remembering your long response if you start early and practice it often, instead of trying to cram it in the night before… sorry.

The good news is, you still have a couple of months before the HSC so try to get your prepared response written, get good feedback from your teachers and then make it perfect so it’s ready to go for the HSC. Then, the next step is to start memorising the essay now and test yourself on it fairly regularly all the way up to your exams. This way, you have plenty of time to really lock it deep into your memory.

5. Test yourself

The final and maybe even most important step is to test yourself. And not with flashcards or the look-cover-check-repeat anymore. Once you’ve got the essay memorised pretty well, you want to spend the weeks coming up to HSC doing past questions so you can practice

  • Having the essay memorised
  • Being able to recall it under pressure
  • Adapting it to any question so that all your hard work will actually pay off

For this to work, you really need to commit 100% to exam conditions (no cheating!) and it’s definitely worth sending those responses to your teacher to get them marked. That way, you will actually know if you’re doing a good job of remembering the core of your argument but also tailoring it perfectly to the question.

Any subject with essays or long responses can be super daunting so if you want to have a pre-written, adaptable response ready to go then it’s worth making sure you can actually memorise it for your exam. Remember to break down the essay into sections, play to your memory strengths and make sure you consistently test yourself all the way up to HSC. That should do the trick. 👌

Published on

July 28, 2017

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Erin Wright Writing

Writing-Related Software Tutorials

How to Use Microsoft Word (10 Core Skills for Beginners)

By Erin Wright

Do you want to learn how to use Microsoft Word quickly? This tutorial teaches ten core skills for beginners.

Table of Contents

How to Start a New Document

How to change the font, size, and color, how to change the alignment, line spacing, and indentations, how to add headings, how to change the margins, how to add images, how to add page numbers, how to add headers and footers, how to run the editor (spelling and grammar check), how to save and print your file.

Please note that this is a quick start guide. I have in-depth tutorials for most of these topics for those who would like to learn more.

Watch all the steps shown here in real time!

Explore more than 250 writing-related software tutorials on my YouTube channel .

The images below are from Word for Microsoft 365. These steps are similar in Word 2021, Word 2019, and Word 2016.

We will cover these ten core skills in Word for Mac in a separate tutorial.

  • Open Word on your computer.

When Word opens, you will be in the Home screen of the Backstage view.

  • Select Blank document to start a new document. (Alternatively, select Open if you want to open an existing Word document.)

Blank document and Open buttons in the Home tab of the Backstage view in Word 365

When the new document opens, you will be in the Home tab in the ribbon , and your cursor will automatically be placed towards the top, left-hand corner of the page, ready to type.

Home tab and cursor in Word 365

You can change the font, size, and color before or after you type text. However, if you want to change existing text, first left-click, hold, and drag with your mouse to select the text.

Selected text in Word 365

  • Select the Home tab in the ribbon if you are not already there (see figure 2).
  • Select the menu arrow to open and choose from the (A) Font , (B) Font Size , or (C) Font Color menus in the Font group.

Font, Font size, and Font color menu arrows in Word 365

If you selected existing text, that text will change immediately. If you haven’t selected existing text, all new text will feature the choices you just made.

Further Reading: How to Change the Font, Font Size, and Font Color in Microsoft Word

Like the font choices shown above, you can change the alignment, line spacing, and indentations before or after you type text. However, if you want to change existing text, first left-click, hold, and drag with your mouse to select the text.

  • Select the Home tab, if you are not already there (see figure 2).
  • Select the Align Left , Center , Align Right , or Justify button to position the text on the page.

Alignment buttons in the Home tab in Word 365

  • Select the Line and Paragraph Spacing menu arrow and then choose a spacing option from the drop-down menu.

Line and Paragraph Spacing menu in the Home tab in Word 365

  • Select the Decrease Indent or Increase Indent buttons to adjust the indent as necessary.

Decrease Indent and Increase Indent buttons in the Home tab in Word 365

Further Reading: How to Adjust Line Spacing in Microsoft Word and Three Ways to Indent Paragraphs in Microsoft Word

You can turn existing text into a heading or choose a heading level before typing the heading text.

  • Select the Home tab if you are not already there (see figure 2).
  • Select a heading level from the Styles group.

Heading level 1 in the Styles group in Word 365

  • If the heading level you want isn’t visible, select the More button.

More button in the Styles group in Word 365

  • Select a heading level from the menu that appears over the Styles group.

Styles menu in Word 365

Further Reading: How to Create and Customize Headings in Microsoft Word

You can change the page margins for your entire Word document at once.

  • Select the Layout tab in the ribbon.

Layout tab in Word 365

  • Select the Margins button and then select an option from the drop-down menu.

Margins menu in Word 365

Further Reading: How to Adjust the Page Margins in Microsoft Word

  • Place your cursor where you want to insert the image.
  • Select the Insert tab in the ribbon, select the Pictures button, and then select the location of the image:
  • This Device lets you choose an image stored on your computer or network server.
  • Stock Images lets you choose stock images, icons, cutout people, stickers, and illustrations. The full stock image library is only available to users signed into Word for Microsoft 365.
  • Online Pictures lets you search for images through Bing, Microsoft’s search engine.

Pictures menu in the Insert tab in Word 365

For this tutorial, we will insert an image stored on the device.

  • (For “This Device” option only) Locate and select the image in the Insert Picture dialog box and then select the Insert button.

Insert button in the Insert Picture dialog box in Word 365

Your image should now appear in your Word document.

  • (Optional) Select one of the resizing handles and then drag the image to a new size.

Image resizing handles in Word 365

  • (Optional) Select the Layout Options button and then choose how the image is positioned with the surrounding text:

A. In Line with Text

E. Top and Bottom

F. Behind Text

G. In Front of Text

The effect of each option will depend on the size of your image and the density of your text. So, you may need to experiment with several options to find the one most suited to your content.

Page Number menus in Word 365

Further Reading: How to Insert and Modify Images in Microsoft Word

  • Select the Insert tab in the ribbon (see figure 13).
  • Select the Page Number button and then select a location from the drop-down menu, followed by a design from the submenu.
  • Select the Close button to close the Header and Footer tab. (This tab only appears when the Header and Footers areas are active.)

Close button in the Header and Footer tab in Word 365

Further Reading: How to Add Page Numbers in Microsoft Word

  • Select the Header or Footer button and then select a design from the drop-down menu.

Header menu in Word 365

  • Type your text into the placeholders.

Header placeholder text in Word 365

  • Select the Close button to close the Header and Footer tab (see figure 18).

Further Reading: How to Insert Headers and Footers in Microsoft Word

In Word for Microsoft 365, the spelling and grammar check is called the Editor. Your spelling and grammar options will depend on which version of Word you are using. Therefore, your interface may look different than the images shown below.

  • Select the Review tab in the ribbon and then select the Editor button. (Older versions of Word will have a Check Document button, instead.)

Editor button in the Review tab in Word 365

  • Select the corrections or refinements category you want to review in the Editor pane.

Corrections and Refinements categories in the Editor pane in Word 365

  • If Word finds a possible error, select a recommendation or select Ignore Once or Ignore All .

Editor recommendations in Word 365

Word will automatically move to the next issue within the category.

  • Select a new category or select the closing X to close the Editor.

Closing X in the Editor pane in Word 365

What Is the Difference between the Editor Button and the Spelling and Grammar Button?

You may notice a Spelling and Grammar button next to the Editor button in the Review tab. This button provides a quick way to check only spelling or spelling and grammar without checking the additional refinements reviewed by the Editor.

Spelling and Grammar button in the Review tab in Word 365

Further Reading: How to Use the Editor in Word for Microsoft 365

I recommend saving your file before printing just in case there is a disruption during the printing process.

  • Select the File tab in the ribbon.

File tab in Word 365

  • Select the Save tab in the Backstage view.

Save tab in the Backstage view in Word 365

  • Select the location where you want to save the File.

Save locations in the Backstage view in Word 365

  • Type a name in the File Name text box and then select the Save button.

Save As dialog box in Word 365

  • Once you have saved your document to a specific location, you can then select the Save icon if you make changes to the document later.

Save button in Word 365

  • To print, reselect the File tab (see figure 26) and then select the Print tab in the Backstage view.

Print tab in the Backstage view in Word 365

  • Ensure the correct printer is selected and turned on, enter the number of copies into the text box, and then select the Print button.

Print screen in the Backstage view in Word 365

From there, follow any additional dialog boxes provided by your printer.

Updated November 26, 2023

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how to memorize an essay word for word

Write great papers

Write great papers with microsoft word.

You may already use Microsoft Word to write papers, but you can also use for many other tasks, such as collecting research, co-writing with other students, recording notes on-the-fly, and even building a better bibliography!

Explore new ways to use Microsoft Word below.

Getting started

Let’s get started by opening Microsoft Word and choosing a template to create a new document. You can either:

Select Blank document to create a document from scratch.

Select a structured template.

Select Take a tour for Word tips.

Word new doc templates

Next, let’s look at creating and formatting copy. You can do so by clicking onto the page and beginning to type your content. The status bar at the bottom of the document shows your current page number and how many words you've typed, in case you’re trying to stay maintain a specific word count.

Word ribbon format text options

To format text and change how it looks, select the text and select an option on the Home tab: Bold, Italic, Bullets, Numbering , etc.

To add pictures, shapes, or other media, simply navigate to the Insert tab, then select any of the options to add media to your document.

Word automatically saves your content as you work, so you don’t have to stress about losing your progress if you forget to press  Save .

Here are some of the advanced tools you can try out while using Microsoft Word.

Type with your voice

Have you ever wanted to speak, not write, your ideas? Believe it or not, there’s a button for that! All you have to do is navigate to the Home tab, select the Dictate button, and start talking to “type” with your voice. You’ll know Dictate is listening when the red recording icon appears.

Tips for using Dictate

Speak clearly and conversationally.

Add punctuation by pausing or saying the name of the punctuation mark.

If you make a mistake, all you have to do is go back and re-type your text.

Dictate button in Word

Finding and citing sources

Get a head start on collecting sources and ideas for a big paper by searching key words in  Researcher in the References tab of your document.

Researcher button in Word

Researcher uses Bing to search the web and deliver high-quality research sources to the side of your page. Search for people, places, or ideas and then sort by journal articles and websites. Add a source to your page by selecting the plus sign.

As you write, Researcher saves a record of your searches. Just select My Research to see the complete list.

Keep track of all your sources by using Word's built-in bibliography maker. Simply navigate to the References tab.

First, choose the style you want your citations to be in. In this example, we’ve selected APA style.

Select Insert Citation and Add New Source .

In the next window, choose what kind of work you’re citing—an article, book, etc.—and fill in the required details. Then select  OK to cite your source.

Keep writing. At the ends of sentences that need sources, select Insert Citation to keep adding new sources, or pick one you already entered from the list.

Point to Insert Citation, and choose Add New Source

As you write, Word will keep track of all the citations you’ve entered. When you’re finished, select Bibliography and choose a format style. Your bibliography will appear at the end of your paper, just like that.

Make things look nice

Make your report or project look extra professional in the Design tab! Browse different themes, colors, fonts, and borders to create work you're proud of!

Illustrate a concept with a chart or a model by navigating to the  Insert tab and choosing  SmartArt . In this example, we chose Cycle and filled in text from the writing process to make a simple graphic. Choose other graphic types to represent hierarchies, flow charts, and more.

Example of a chart you can make

To insert a 3D model, select  Insert > 3D Models to choose from a library of illustrated dioramas from different course subjects and 3D shapes.

Invite someone to write with you

If you’re working on a group project, you can work on a document at the same time without emailing the file back and forth. Select Share at the top of your page and create a link you can send to other students.

Now, everybody can open the same file and work together.

Keep learning

Check out more Microsoft Word training and support

Microsoft paper and report templates


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Essay Memorization Techniques

Linda basilicato.

how to memorize an essay word for word

To memorize an essay or prepare for an essay exam, avoid trying to memorize your practice essay word for word. Instead, memorize key points and put trust in your ability to put together an essay based on those key ideas. Try not to get attached to pretty or well-put sentences written beforehand. This will only occupy valuable mental space needed for the exam. Remember, for an essay test you are graded mostly on content, not eloquence. Papers are the proper outlet for eloquence.

Explore this article

  • Write by Hand
  • Use Your Own Words
  • Know Your Learning Style

Just because you're not going to memorize and regurgitate your practice essay verbatim for the test doesn't mean you shouldn't write it many times. But do try to write from memory. Don't mindlessly copy words from a page. Keep your notes nearby, but use them less and less each time you sit down to write. Again, don't try to memorize exact sentences, just get all the important information down on paper.

2 Write by Hand

If you're going to have to write the essay by hand, practice by hand, at least some of the time. But don't start out the test with your hand already cramped and sore.

After you've written the practice essay you hope to memorize, write a simple outline for it. Use mnemonics to help memorize the outline. Mnemonics are simple memory tricks such as PEMDAS (or Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally), a common memorization technique used by math teachers to help students learn the order of operations (Parentheses, exponents, multiplication and division, addition and subtraction). Other mnemonic devices involve songs, rhymes and silly, simple stories used to string together the basic information you need to remember.

Memorize this outline and write it down as soon as you sit down to take the exam. Then use it as you used your notes during your earlier practice and study sessions.

4 Use Your Own Words

You may wish to memorize a key quote or two, but most of the information should be expressed in your own words. Remember you will most likely be graded on content and by the pieces of information included (or excluded) from your essay. Take the time to really understand concepts that are tricky for you. Come up with illustrative analogies to explain a concept simply and to show that you really understand it.

5 Know Your Learning Style

If you're more of a talker than a writer, use this skill to your advantage. Instead of writing over and over again, simply explain out loud the answer to each question to prove you really understand it. But don't do this exclusively. For every two to four times you explain your answer in speech, write your answer down on paper. Written words are very different from spoken explanation. You will most likely need the written practice to succeed on an essay exam. Don't make the mistake of thinking you will know how to write an essay because you can explain it out loud. You might find yourself stumped or running out of time when you sit down and put pen to paper.

About the Author

Linda Basilicato has been writing food and lifestyle articles since 2005 for newspapers and online publications such as She graduated magna cum laude from Stony Brook University in New York and also holds a Master of Arts in philosophy from the University of Montana.

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How to Memorize Words Quickly

Last Updated: December 3, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 385,312 times.

Memorizing words quickly is often a very daunting task. Sometimes we have word lists -- like a list of vocabulary words -- that are so overwhelming that we are overcome by the magnitude of the task rather than spending our time getting started. Fortunately, there are a number of methods of memorizing words quickly that take a potentially overwhelming task and make it fun. Ultimately, you need to remember that knowing words and vocabulary is not a bad thing – it will help you meet your goal and enrich your intellect in the process.

Using Word Association and Mnemonic Devices

Step 1 Have the words you need to memorize printed out in front of you.

  • For example, if you're trying to memorize a list of vocabulary words in a textbook, you could write out the words by hand on a sheet of paper.

Step 2 Break the words up into smaller groups.

  • Use your best judgement when and if you'll be breaking your list up and moving words around.

Step 3 Underline the first letter of every word in the groups.

  • The first letter of every word will create an acronym.
  • For the order of operations in math (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction), you’ll have p, e, m, d, a, and s. This will spell P.E.M.D.A.S.
  • This works best with word lists of 10 or less.

Step 4 Memorize the acronym.

  • You won’t be using the original word, simply another word that begins with the same first letter.
  • To remember the order of operations in math (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction), take P.E.M.D.A.S. and assign words to it.
  • P.E.M.D.A.S. can be transformed into “Please excuse my dear aunt Sally” or any other number of short sentences. [4] X Research source

Step 6 Review your word groups, acronyms and mnemonic devices.

Visualizing Words

Step 1 Have the list of words you need to memorize printed out in front of you.

  • You can also write the words out by hand on a piece of paper, which will help you memorize them even more.

Step 2 Draw a picture for each word.

  • Nouns might be easiest, as you’ll just have to draw the person, place, or thing.
  • Adjectives will be somewhat easy. Words like “big” and “beautiful” will be relatively easy to draw.
  • Verbs might be more difficult. For a word like “associate” try to draw its meaning (the connection between things).

Step 3 Create a word association web.

  • Write the word you want to remember on the center of a sheet of paper.
  • Draw lines outward from the center connecting the center word to other words that you associate with it. For example, if the word is “winter” draw a line outward connecting it to “snow” and another line on the other side connecting it to “freezing” and another line on the side connecting it to “ice.” Repeat this process outward until you’re confident you will remember it.
  • This should not take more than 3-5 minutes per word.

Step 4 Create a picture story.

  • Take your list of words and quickly draw a picture for each word.
  • Try to maintain the original meaning of the word, if you can.
  • Organize the pictures so they make a story you can remember.
  • This will work great when paired with word association and mnemonic devices.

Step 5 Spend time reviewing your picture, your web, and your story.

  • Reviewing them while eating.
  • Looking at them when you have downtime in between other tasks and projects.
  • Spending a couple minutes looking at them and thinking about them when you wake up and before you go to sleep.

Using Sound and Music

Step 1 Place the list of words you need to learn right in front of you.

  • Handwriting your list of words on a sheet of paper is a great way to kick off the memorization process.

Step 2 Arrange the words in story or sentence form.

  • Rhyming words.
  • Pairing words cleverly.
  • This works best if you don’t have to know the words in a certain order.
  • You will be keeping the meaning of each word.

Step 3 Find a memorable tune to accompany your words.

  • Your current favorite pop songs.
  • Traditional folk tunes like “Molly Malone” or “John Brown’s Body.”
  • Pledges, anthems, or hymns, like the American Pledge of Allegiance, the American Marine hymn, or Hail Britannia.

Step 4 Say or sing the words and their meaning to a tune.

Expert Q&A

Christopher Taylor, PhD

  • Try using the words in your day-to-day life with people you come across every day. It will make you even more confident. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • It helps to Google images to find things that might inspire you. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Read/write the word over and over again saying each letter. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to memorize an essay word for word

  • Do not make your word association too complicated, use what comes first to your mind. Thanks Helpful 87 Not Helpful 40

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About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To memorize words quickly, start by writing the words down in a list to study from, since just writing it out can help you remember. Then, underline the first letter of each word and create an acronym that you can easily remember. For simple words, try drawing pictures of each word, keeping the original meaning as much as you can. If these tricks don’t work, set the words to a catchy song and sing it repeatedly until you’ve memorized it. For tips from our Language reviewer on more ways to memorize words, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to memorize vocab words and build your vocabulary

In this ultimate guide on how to memorize vocabulary, you’ll learn how to easily master new words to advance your language, subject, and career!

How to memorize vocab words and build your vocabulary

There are no two ways about it. The mastery of any area of study requires you to bank veritable dictionaries' worth of vocabulary. From important medical terminology, the names of major historical figures, and legal concepts, to Mandarin symbols, the conjugation of French verbs, and advanced marketing principles ... if you want to learn any subject or any language (including your own), you have to learn how to memorize vocabulary .

The more words you learn, the better your dexterity in your chosen language or subject. And this goes a long way in helping you further your education, ace your exams , and even succeed in the workplace !

So, whether you want to (1) prepare for an upcoming biology exam , (2) learn a new language , or (3) finally outsmart your girlfriend in an argument, we’re going to reveal the best ways to memorize new vocabulary!

First and foremost, the key lies in leveraging two important cognitive learning principles ...

Using SCIENCE to memorize vocabulary!

‘Active recall’ and ‘spaced repetition’ may sound like science fiction novels but they are, in fact, two really useful cognitive learning principles:

Active recall

The first, active recall , simply refers to the remembering of information from, well, memory! Rather than referring to a textbook or your study notes, actively recalling information requires your brain to sift through your mental library, find the relevant dictionary, and pluck a learned word or morsel of information from it.

For example: What is a Riesling? It’s a white grape variety, originating from the Rhine region, used to make aromatic wines.

You do this all the time without any mental effort: when remembering your phone number, physical address, or you and your spouse’s anniversary (or so one would hope).

It takes a little more mental effort to remember new information. But it’s in the process of actively recalling information that deeper neural pathways are formed, thereby helping our brain record more permanent memories.

how to memorize an essay word for word

Spaced repetition

Spaced repetition , on the other hand, is your exposure to new information again and again, at intervals that are carefully determined to optimize your learning. For example: if you were using flashcards, you might review a particularly difficult word again every four or five cards, and an easier word every 12 to 15 cards. Your repeated exposure to the information helps you learn that word more efficiently.

Make sense, doesn’t it?

Now, combine the two cognitive principles— active recall and spaced repetition —and what do you get? A totally awesome and efficient way to memorize vocabulary , whether it’s learning French , Shakespearean English, Mandarin , or complex biology, history, or finance terms.

This is precisely the crafty trick that Brainscape’s adaptive web and mobile flashcards app leverages in order to help its users, like you, on board a cornucopia of fresh vocabulary in just about any language. Through the study of digital flashcards (on any device, big or small), our intelligent spaced repetition algorithm compels students to repeat the mental retrieval of information over increasingly longer intervals of time.

And THIS is what really solidifies vocab and their definitions in HALF the time it might ordinarily take you.

With that science out of the way, let’s now discuss two steps to learning how to memorize vocabulary and the popular vocab techniques that don't work .

Here's to all the wonderful ways you can turn an ordinary day into a learning fiesta!

how to memorize an essay word for word

(That’s a “celebration” in Spanish.)

Step 1. Build your vocabulary list

The first step is easy: compile a list of words you want to learn. Here’s where and how you can do that!

1. In class

If you’re learning a language or subject in school or college, your textbook and teacher will have extensive lists of vocabulary for you to learn. This is a great resource to get you started.

2. Your readings

Keep a pen and paper handy when you read a book, magazine, or anything else really—whether for school or pleasure—and keep a list of words or complex terms you’re unfamiliar with. Then, when you sit down to study, create flashcards for these words. Words coming from real-world experience are so much more likely to "stick" when you study them later than those you just try to learn from a random list or homework assignment.

3. On "the street"

Every time you are exposed to a new word or phrase with a conversation partner, fellow student, or colleague, make a mental note to look it up and study later. This is really great for picking up on all the industry terms, slang expressions, colloquialisms, and (in the case of learning languages) swear words your formal education tragically omits!

You could do this on the fly with the Brainscape app , which allows you to login and create new flashcards in seconds!

4. Get premade flashcards

If you really want a shortcut to the good stuff, simply find premade flashcards in Brainscape’s extensive library. It's overflowing with awesome content for learning foreign languages , vocab builder flashcards for stronger English, and other subjects that require you to master a smorgasbord of different terms and concepts, such as biology , law , and medicine .

Simply get the Brainscape app on your phone and instead of trolling your ex on Instagram, learn new words and get smarter .

Step 2. Study your list to memorize new vocabulary

How to memorize vocabulary

Now that you have your comprehensive list of words you wish to learn, it’s time to start memorizing it. Truth be told, we don’t really love the word “memorize”. It seems trivial: as though you’re only remembering new words for the sake of remembering them, when in fact each word is a tiny, essential nut or bolt in the grand dynamic mechanism that is the language or the subject you’re learning.

So, when we say “memorize” rather think of it as internalizing the vocabulary: making it a permanent resource in your mental library to use in your everyday interactions and communications. Internalizing new vocabulary, rather than parrot-fashion learning it, will save you from having to re-learn the same words in the future, which is a waste of time.

(That’s Italian slang for “do you understand?” but said in Marlon Brando’s hoarse lisp.)

Here are five tips for how to memorize your vocabulary list.

Tip 1. Make a flashcard for each word

As soon as you have been exposed to a new word or term—whether via a textbook or in conversation with someone— make a flashcard for it. You don’t have to rush home and cut out and write on a square piece of cardboard (unless you’re really Old School). Rather, use Brainscape’s online flashcards app !

Simply whip out your phone or laptop and:

  • Create a class in Brainscape (E.g. “Biology 101”).
  • Create a new deck (E.g. “Cellular Biology Terms”).
  • Populate your deck with flashcards, creating one flashcard per new word.

For each digital flashcard, write the word (and maybe a pronunciation) on the front of the card and the definition and sample sentence(s) on the back. For example:

Use Brainscape to memorize vocabulary

[See our complete guide to making & studying digital flashcards (NNL)]

Tip 2. Study your flashcards

Once you’ve created your vocab flashcards (or found some premade flashcards in our library), you can access and study them on any device, anytime, anywhere .

Just think of the possibilities: Turn that boring college commute into a Spanish fiesta of new words ... or your boyfriend’s obsession with Star Wars into an opportunity to brush up on your MCAT medical terms, while benefiting from those geeky cognitive science terms we mentioned earlier: active recall and spaced repetition.

There is a third facet to the science behind Brainscape we haven’t yet mentioned: metacognition .

As you flip through your Brainscape flashcards, you’ll be asked to rate your confidence in each new vocab word on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being “what the heck does that mean?” and 5 being “I know exactly what that means!”

Use Brainscape's flashcards to memorize vocabulary

Using your feedback, our savvy spaced repetition algorithm calculates the perfect interval of time to wait before showing you that card again. The lower-confidence words will show up more frequently until you become familiar with them and increase their rating. Eventually, you’ll rate your understanding a 5 out of 5 and that new vocab word will be banked!

This is spaced repetition in motion (i sn’t it beautiful? ). But it begins with metacognition, which is you asking yourself how well you knew the answer to the flashcard (or the definition of the word on it). Engaging metacognition is a super powerful and efficient way of memorizing new vocab because it forces you to pay attention, not only to the information but to how well you know that information. And this deepens the memory trace.

Just be sure to study your flashcards in both directions (word → definition and definition → word) and shuffle your cards too so that your brain doesn’t try to cheat by latching on to patterns.

Tip 3. Do the vocab exercises provided by your textbook or worksheets

There’s no point learning new vocabulary or terms without understanding how those words work in sentences. Seeing these words in motion and within the greater context of the language or the subject will help you memorize them better since your brain now attaches meaning to them.

So it’s important that, in addition to regular flashcard study, you practice the exercises in your language workbook, textbook, or course. Challenge yourself to use these new words and terms in your answers and essays so that they become a working part of your vocabulary.

Tip 4. Use the Feynman Technique

Richard Feynman was a theoretical physicist who was also rather interested in effective learning techniques. What he believed is that reciting everything you know about a subject from scratch (i.e. active recall) and being able to explain or teach it in simple terms to, for example, a sixth-grader is the true test of having mastered that subject.

This—the Feynman Technique —has become a popular method for consolidating what you’ve learned. In the context of how to memorize vocabulary, it compels your brain to actively dig into your mental bank of words, rather than just passively recognizing the right answer to a question.

How can you use the Feynman Technique to practice your vocab?

Review a specific list of a few dozen words (or, for example, open a deck of Brainscape flashcards in “preview mode” so you can see the whole deck at once). Then, cover your list or close the app and see how much you can remember from scratch, teaching it to an imaginary student ... or to a pot plant (they’re great listeners).

See more tips on how to use the Feynman Technique .

Tip 5. Use the words in your daily life

You’ll know you have truly internalized a new word when you’re able to use it in your written and/or spoken communication. So, in addition to practicing those flashcards and workbook exercises, and teaching the words out loud to your Delicious Monster plant, try to use the words and terms in your conversations with peers, colleagues, and teachers, and in your written work.

Popular memorization techniques that don't work as well

Two birds speaking Spanish

At this point, you are fully equipped with the tools you need to memorize new words and build your vocabulary. But before we unleash you upon your studies, let’s discuss the efficacy of a few popular learning techniques that unfortunately fall short:

1. Mnemonic devices

“Betty eats cakes and uncle sells eggs.”

This is how I learned to spell the word “b-e-c-a-u-s-e” in first grade.

Mnemonics are memory devices that help learners recall larger pieces of information. While they’re kinda cute, they can be confusing and time-consuming because they require you to remember TWO things: the cute association and the word’s meaning. Why bother? Rather keep it simple with flashcards, where you can repeatedly drill the actual concept and not some superfluous meta-concept.

2. Vocab games

Vocab games are designed to encourage your enthusiasm for learning, but there are other, more effective ways to improve your motivation . The main problem with vocab games is that they don’t present words to you in a way that teaches you how to use them .

Rather, they work off of recognition and patterns. Without engaging your powers of active recall, metacognition, and spaced repetition (like Brainscape does), any learning you glean from vocab games is really surface level.

(See why active recall is the secret to learning faster .)

3. Audiotapes

Man listening to music with headphones

One might think that listening to a language is an amazing way to fill otherwise unproductive time, such as when commuting to work or at the gym. But the problem with any audio-only solution is that it involves passive learning .

Without any real interaction with the language, you won’t learn as quickly. Additionally, audio programs cannot be tailored to your specific needs and you may end up spending excessive amounts of time listening to words you already know perfectly because they’re mixed in with the words you don’t know so well.

Worse still, you can only learn the words as quickly as the voice on the tape can speak, which can be frustratingly slow. So while audio tapes are better than nothing during your downtime, they are not a panacea for quickly building a vocabulary.

“Panacea” is a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases (go make a flashcard for that)!

4. Word-of-the-day calendars

Ugh, really ? It takes thousands of new words to significantly improve your vocabulary, whether it’s for a language or a complex subject, like anatomy. But there are only 365 days in a year. Plus, once you’ve seen a word and chucked away the page, you can’t study, practice, and review it the way you need to in order to permanently remember that word.

Word-of-the-day calendars are cute gifts, but little else (unless you make a flashcard for each new word you learn!).

How to memorize vocabulary like a boss

Memorizing (or rather internalizing) new words and vocabulary is a fundamental aspect of learning a new language , mastering your native tongue, and becoming fluent in the lexicon of any subject .

The best way to build a more comprehensive arsenal of words is by engaging your powers of active recall, spaced repetition, and metacognition , as we have discussed in this “how to memorize vocab” guide.

Brainscape’s intelligent and adaptive learning flashcard app leverages all three of these cognitive principles, while also being fun and engaging to use. So, heed our advice, use our app, and profit from the fruits of your labors with higher grades, better conversations, smoother transactions, and directions to the bathroom that you can actually follow .

You’re welcome.

Armstrong, R., Arnott, W., Copland, D. A., McMahon, K., Khan, A., Najman, J. M., & Scott, J. G. (2017). Change in receptive vocabulary from childhood to adulthood: Associated mental health, education and employment outcomes. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders , 52 (5), 561-572.

Chukharev-Hudilainen, E., & Klepikova, T. A. (2016). The effectiveness of computer-based spaced repetition in foreign language vocabulary instruction: A double-blind study. C alico Journal , 33 (3), 334-354.

Sprenger, M. (2013). Teaching the critical vocabulary of the common core. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Flashcards for serious learners .


  • How to Memorize an Essay: The Proven Way to Improve Your Knowledge
  • How to Memorize an Essay and Improve Your Overall Knowledge?

How to Memorize an Essay and Improve Your Overall Knowledge?

Great ways to memorize each word of an essay

How to turn the memorization process into real fun, simple tips on how to learn a substantial essay preparing for an exam, improve your subject knowledge by making notes and doing exercises, what is a mind map, and how to use it for essay learning.

Memory is a valuable tool people use to accumulate knowledge and use it afterward. Memorizing essay unlike a classification essay, is not as difficult as it may seem at first. The main thing is to find a suitable method of memorization and to organize the work in the right way. Want to memorize an essay quickly and effectively to ace tests in a particular area of knowledge? Here are the proven methods of storing information in your memory so that you can use it whenever you need it. Check the helpful tips and tricks to memorize the whole story word by word. Are you stuck in writing your essays and want to pay someone to do my homework ? Entrust your tasks to our professional academic assistance service and get your assignments done by experts!

Everyone will benefit from the ability to keep in mind the critical details of a future presentation or speech. To learn the material quickly, you need to eliminate all external stimuli and create a working environment. For active memorization , it is better to use several channels of perception and to adhere to this algorithm:

  • Read the entire text several times, understand its meaning.
  • Use associations (memorize a picture drawn by the imagination while reading).
  • Divide it into logical parts and make an outline.
  • Write reference words or quotes to the essential points.
  • Retell each part separately, then put all the pieces together.

If you need to learn the story by heart or memorize an essay , you're recommended to do the following:

  • If possible, listen to the audio version based on the printed text.
  • Rewrite each paragraph of the essay several times.
  • Cover the end of sentences and enter the missing words from memory. Reproduce the text actively either orally or in writing. 

Pictograms are a way to replace words and sentences with pictures. It is not necessary to be an artist — the more straightforward and funnier the photos, the better.  Visualization is the most effective way to recollect the knowledge in any area. It is also a great tip on how to focus on school work .

Haven’t you memorized it yet? Make the process as fun as possible using game techniques to remember:

  • Replace part of words with pictures and recreate the full text. Gradually paint overall new words and draw pictures in their place, each time retelling part by part.
  • Make a copy of the text and cut into small pieces. Gather it as a puzzle, simultaneously reading the resulting sentences — the brighter and funnier the font, the better. 

Need to memorize a considerable essay? Just follow the step-by-step guidelines below:

  • Divide it into parts and work with each of them separately.
  • Make a plan or enter the primary data in the table.
  • Repeat the essay regularly, making short breaks.
  • Use multiple channels of perception (for example, visual and auditory ).

Keep in mind that the details are stored in memory automatically if you're interested in the subject. Writing in a clear language is amenable to memorize. Make sure it sounds easy for perception. If not, do your best to make it as simple as possible and clear up all the incomprehensible points.

This method of gaining new knowledge is especially suitable for visuals (those who better perceive information through sight), but anyone can use and increase his/her chances to succeed. The result will be noticeable in any case. Check the ways to memorize an essay:

  • Divide the text into several parts. Work with each area of knowledge separately. 
  • Read the first part, look up unfamiliar terms and phrases.
  • Rewrite some parts 1-2 times.
  • Fill in the individual phrases with the office corrector. Add them from memory. 
  • Check yourself. Rewrite the essay again. 
  • Paint over twice as many fragments as you remember. Fill in the blanks. 
  • Repeat until you can fully reproduce the paragraph.
  •  Put all the pieces together and retell the story. 

If there is very little time to learn a particular area, and you need to memorize everything quickly and finish homework faster , consider the technique of constant repetitions.

  • Write paragraphs on small sheets of paper. It is better to choose bright markers to highlight key ideas in a specific area of knowledge.
  • Hang them around the house: above the kitchen table, in the bathroom, on the mirror in the hallway, on the balcony. 

Visiting these places, or merely passing by, you’ll understand that the eye “catches” the sentence, and knowledge is stored in memory successfully. This method will give a good result and speed up the memorization process.

It is essential to understand the meaning of the essay and understand what you are going to talk. That’s why you should convey everything in your own words.

  • Read the text aloud thoughtfully. Write out unfamiliar terms to improve your knowledge on the subject. 
  • Break the material into logical parts (intro, key thoughts, and facts, ending). 
  • Make a detailed plan for each part. Describe it in the form of short abstracts, quotes, or questions. 
  • Retell a few times, looking at the original if necessary. 
  • Retell the text without looking at the original, and then without using the plan.
  • Strong points in the form of quotations can be distinguished directly in an original way. Highlight them with a pencil.

It is a thought map that allows you to structure the information in any area of knowledge without any difficulties. You're free to depict a map as you wish and retell the story using a map. This technique will be helpful to those who need to learn but not necessarily reproduce it word by word quickly. 

  • Highlight the critical issues in a particular area of knowledge. Write or draw it, circle it.
  • Portray secondary thoughts in the form of branches in any direction. Someone draws to the right and left, someone from top to bottom. There are no restrictions.
  • Get a detailed plan in a convenient format, based on which it will be easy to retell all in your own words.

Those who like to draw can replace sentences with pictures. It will make the process of gaining knowledge more exciting and even help you learn the information better, being confident in your understanding.

Whatever way to study the area of knowledge you choose, it is vital to memorize material consciously. Learning a text by heart is not the goal itself, but just a stage to achieve it. The main thing is to start using the acquired knowledge in speech and writing. To reproduce the gained knowledge, you need to have a clear picture of the article purpose and critical points. Remember: if you lack either time or motivation to prepare for an exam, turn to professionals who know how to boost your knowledge effectively. 

Writing is a skill you will need throughout your academic and business life. Well, unless you will work as a free laborer or engineer, you will have to fill out various forms and prepare documents. In any case, every citizen should be literate. It is the image of the country. That is why high school...

Need to learn how to do homework faster? Go no further if you are one of those students wondering whether the amount of assignments is fair and how to manage your busy schedule successfully. In this blog post, our academic writing experts share insights into how to finish homework tasks until your d...

Are you a parent who wants to encourage his kid to study? Or you are a student who just wants to find out how to do homework effectively. No matter who you are and how hard the homework is. Our homework service made an article that will teach our readers how to make homework fun and deal with it eff...

how to memorize an essay word for word

how to memorize an essay word for word

How to Delete an Extra Page in Microsoft Word

Quick links, how to delete a page in microsoft word: the easiest way, why can't i remove my pages in microsoft word.

  • Deleting an extra page in Microsoft Word is usually straightforward, regardless of the device you use.
  • You can delete pages in Word that are empty, along with those that already have content on them.
  • Problems can stop you from deleting pages in Word, such as tables and other formatting errors. However, these are usually easy to solve.

Learn how to delete pages in Microsoft Word, whether you want to remove an empty end page or something that has text and other elements. You'll also learn how to solve potential issues that can hinder you from removing Word pages.

Most of the time, you’ll want to delete a page in Word because there’s an empty one at the end of your document. Luckily, it's very easy to delete these. The steps are identical regardless of whether you're on a computer, tablet, or smartphone:

  • Go to the page in Microsoft Word that you want to delete.
  • Highlight all the text on your page. You can click and drag with your trackpad or mouse, or you can use the keyboard shortcut: Command + A (Mac) or Ctrl + A (Windows) .
  • Hit the backspace key to delete your text. Then, keep backspacing until the page is deleted.

On empty Word pages at the end of your document, you simply need to backspace until the cursor moves to the previous page.

If you’re having a problem trying to delete a page in Word, it could be due to one of the following reasons.

1. Document Margins Could Stop You From Deleting Pages in Word

An overly large page margin could be stopping you from deleting an extra page in Word. Again, it's the type of problem you might not even notice if you'd caught a menu button my mistake.

To check, go to Layout > Margins and either choose one of the default options or enter a custom selection.

2. Check to See if Paragraph Marks Stop You From Deleting Word Pages

If you turn on formatting marks in Word, you'll be able to see what's going on with your document.

To enable them, go to Home > Paragraph and click on the Show Paragraph Mark icon. Alternatively, press CTRL + * .

Once enabled, scan the blank page for paragraph marks. If you see any, delete them. Paragraph marks are hidden features in Word and sometimes you have to reveal them to solve any problems in your document.

3. Page Breaks in Word

If your blank page is in the middle of a document rather than at the end, an errant page break is almost certainly to blame.

Turning on the paragraph marks in the method detailed above will also let you see the page breaks. Remove the page breaks and it will help to get rid of the blank page too.

4. Tables Could Make an Extra Page in Microsoft Word

A quirk of the way Microsoft Word works means that if your document ends with a table, Word will automatically enter a paragraph mark after it. If the table also falls at the bottom of a page, this can force an extra page to be created.

It's impossible to delete the final mark, but there is a workaround that means you won't need to adjust the size of the table itself. Just highlight the paragraph mark and change the font size to 1.

If the mark is still there, highlight it with the cursor, right-click, and select Paragraph in the context menu. Click on the Indents and Spacing tab and change all the spacing to zero.

If the page is still there, you can try hiding the paragraph entirely. Go to Home > Font click on the small arrow in the lower-right corner to open the pop-out menu. Locate the Effects section on the Fonts tab and mark the checkbox next to Hidden .

5. Section Breaks Could Cause Blank Pages in Word

Section breaks are essential to denote the start and end of sections of different formatting within the same document.

As such, if a section break is causing a blank page, proceed with caution. You don't necessarily want to outright delete it, as doing so could cause major formatting issues elsewhere.

The correct approach is to set the section break to Continuous. To make the change, click just after the break you want to alter, then go to Layout > Page Setup on the ribbon and launch the pop-out menu.

In the layout tab, change the Section start option to Continuous .

6. Check Your Microsoft Word Printer Settings

If you're getting blank pages when you print a document, but you don't see any on-screen, your printer settings are probably to blame.

Covering every printer is beyond the scope of this article, but you should head to your printer's Preferences page and look for the Separator page option.

Deleting a page on Microsoft Word is usually not a huge problem. All you need to do is delete the content and remove all spacing; the program will then do the rest for you. If you're having issues with deleting pages in Word, you should check to see if one of the above issues is hindering your ability to do so.

How to Delete an Extra Page in Microsoft Word

What is Good Friday? What the holy day means for Christians around the world

how to memorize an essay word for word

Christians around the world observe Good Friday two days before Easter, but what is it, and why do they commemorate the holy day?

The holiday is part of Holy Week, which leads up to Easter Sunday. Palm Sunday kicks off the series of Christian holy days that commemorate the Crucifixion and celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection.

"Good Friday has been, for centuries now, the heart of the Christian message because it is through the death of Jesus Christ that Christians believe that we have been forgiven of our sins," Daniel Alvarez, an associate teaching professor of religious studies at Florida International University, told USA TODAY.

What is Holy Saturday? What the day before Easter means for Christians around the world

When is Good Friday?

Good Friday is always the Friday before Easter. It's the second-to-last day of Holy Week.

In 2024, Good Friday will fall on March 29.

What is Good Friday?

Good Friday is the day Christ was sacrificed on the cross. According to Britannica , it is a day for "sorrow, penance, and fasting."

"Good Friday is part of something else," Gabriel Radle, an assistant professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, previously told USA TODAY. "It's its own thing, but it's also part of something bigger."

Are Good Friday and Passover related?

Alvarez says that Good Friday is directly related to the Jewish holiday, Passover.

Passover , or Pesach, is a major Jewish holiday that celebrates the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt.

"The whole Christian idea of atoning for sin, that Jesus is our atonement, is strictly derived from the Jewish Passover tradition," said Alvarez.

How is that possible?

According to the professor, Passover celebrates the day the "Angel of Death" passed over the homes of Israelites who were enslaved by the Egyptians. He said that the Bible states when the exodus happened, families were told to paint their doors with lamb's blood so that God would spare the lives of their firstborn sons.

Alvarez says this is why Christians call Jesus the "lamb of God." He adds that the symbolism of the "blood of the lamb" ties the two stories together and is why Christians believe God sacrificed his firstborn son. Because, through his blood, humanity is protected from the "wrath of a righteous God that cannot tolerate sin."

He adds that the stories of the exodus and the Crucifixion not only further tie the stories together but also emphasize just how powerful the sacrifice of the firstborn and the shedding of blood are in religion.

"Jesus is the firstborn, so the whole idea of the death of the firstborn is crucial," said Alvarez.

He adds that the sacrifice of the firstborn, specifically a firstborn son, comes from an ancient and "primitive" idea that the sacrifice unleashes "tremendous power that is able to fend off any kind of force, including the wrath of God."

Why Is Good Friday so somber?

Alavarez says people might think this holiday is more depressing or sad than others because of how Catholics commemorate the Crucifixion.

"I think [it's] to a level that some people might think is morbid," said Alvarez.

He said Catholics not only meditate on Jesus' death, but primarily focus on the suffering he faced in the events that led up to his Crucifixion. That's what makes it such a mournful day for people.

But, the professor says that Jesus' suffering in crucial to Christianity as a whole.

"The suffering of Christ is central to the four Gospels," said Alvarez. "Everything else is incidental."

According to the professor, statues that use blood to emphasize the way Jesus and Catholic saints suffered is very common in Spanish and Hispanic Countries, but not as prevalent in American churches.

Do you fast on Good Friday?

Father Dustin Dought, the executive director of the Secretariat of Divine Worship of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, previously told USA TODAY that Good Friday and Ash Wednesday are the two days in the year that Roman Catholics are obliged to fast.

"This practice is a way of emptying ourselves so that we can be filled with God," said Dought.

What do you eat on Good Friday?

Many Catholics do not eat meat on any Friday during Lent. Anything with flesh is off-limits. Dought says this practice is to honor the way Jesus sacrificed his flesh on Good Friday.

Meat that is off limits includes:

Instead, many Catholics will eat fish. According to the Marine Stewardship Council , this is allowed because fish is considered to be a different type of flesh.

Contributing: Jordan Mendoza ; USA TODAY

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  • The Case for Marrying an Older Man

A woman’s life is all work and little rest. An age gap relationship can help.

how to memorize an essay word for word

In the summer, in the south of France, my husband and I like to play, rather badly, the lottery. We take long, scorching walks to the village — gratuitous beauty, gratuitous heat — kicking up dust and languid debates over how we’d spend such an influx. I purchase scratch-offs, jackpot tickets, scraping the former with euro coins in restaurants too fine for that. I never cash them in, nor do I check the winning numbers. For I already won something like the lotto, with its gifts and its curses, when he married me.

He is ten years older than I am. I chose him on purpose, not by chance. As far as life decisions go, on balance, I recommend it.

When I was 20 and a junior at Harvard College, a series of great ironies began to mock me. I could study all I wanted, prove myself as exceptional as I liked, and still my fiercest advantage remained so universal it deflated my other plans. My youth. The newness of my face and body. Compellingly effortless; cruelly fleeting. I shared it with the average, idle young woman shrugging down the street. The thought, when it descended on me, jolted my perspective, the way a falling leaf can make you look up: I could diligently craft an ideal existence, over years and years of sleepless nights and industry. Or I could just marry it early.

So naturally I began to lug a heavy suitcase of books each Saturday to the Harvard Business School to work on my Nabokov paper. In one cavernous, well-appointed room sat approximately 50 of the planet’s most suitable bachelors. I had high breasts, most of my eggs, plausible deniability when it came to purity, a flush ponytail, a pep in my step that had yet to run out. Apologies to Progress, but older men still desired those things.

I could not understand why my female classmates did not join me, given their intelligence. Each time I reconsidered the project, it struck me as more reasonable. Why ignore our youth when it amounted to a superpower? Why assume the burdens of womanhood, its too-quick-to-vanish upper hand, but not its brief benefits at least? Perhaps it came easier to avoid the topic wholesale than to accept that women really do have a tragically short window of power, and reason enough to take advantage of that fact while they can. As for me, I liked history, Victorian novels, knew of imminent female pitfalls from all the books I’d read: vampiric boyfriends; labor, at the office and in the hospital, expected simultaneously; a decline in status as we aged, like a looming eclipse. I’d have disliked being called calculating, but I had, like all women, a calculator in my head. I thought it silly to ignore its answers when they pointed to an unfairness for which we really ought to have been preparing.

I was competitive by nature, an English-literature student with all the corresponding major ambitions and minor prospects (Great American novel; email job). A little Bovarist , frantic for new places and ideas; to travel here, to travel there, to be in the room where things happened. I resented the callow boys in my class, who lusted after a particular, socially sanctioned type on campus: thin and sexless, emotionally detached and socially connected, the opposite of me. Restless one Saturday night, I slipped on a red dress and snuck into a graduate-school event, coiling an HDMI cord around my wrist as proof of some technical duty. I danced. I drank for free, until one of the organizers asked me to leave. I called and climbed into an Uber. Then I promptly climbed out of it. For there he was, emerging from the revolving doors. Brown eyes, curved lips, immaculate jacket. I went to him, asked him for a cigarette. A date, days later. A second one, where I discovered he was a person, potentially my favorite kind: funny, clear-eyed, brilliant, on intimate terms with the universe.

I used to love men like men love women — that is, not very well, and with a hunger driven only by my own inadequacies. Not him. In those early days, I spoke fondly of my family, stocked the fridge with his favorite pasta, folded his clothes more neatly than I ever have since. I wrote his mother a thank-you note for hosting me in his native France, something befitting a daughter-in-law. It worked; I meant it. After graduation and my fellowship at Oxford, I stayed in Europe for his career and married him at 23.

Of course I just fell in love. Romances have a setting; I had only intervened to place myself well. Mainly, I spotted the precise trouble of being a woman ahead of time, tried to surf it instead of letting it drown me on principle. I had grown bored of discussions of fair and unfair, equal or unequal , and preferred instead to consider a thing called ease.

The reception of a particular age-gap relationship depends on its obviousness. The greater and more visible the difference in years and status between a man and a woman, the more it strikes others as transactional. Transactional thinking in relationships is both as American as it gets and the least kosher subject in the American romantic lexicon. When a 50-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman walk down the street, the questions form themselves inside of you; they make you feel cynical and obscene: How good of a deal is that? Which party is getting the better one? Would I take it? He is older. Income rises with age, so we assume he has money, at least relative to her; at minimum, more connections and experience. She has supple skin. Energy. Sex. Maybe she gets a Birkin. Maybe he gets a baby long after his prime. The sight of their entwined hands throws a lucid light on the calculations each of us makes, in love, to varying degrees of denial. You could get married in the most romantic place in the world, like I did, and you would still have to sign a contract.

Twenty and 30 is not like 30 and 40; some freshness to my features back then, some clumsiness in my bearing, warped our decade, in the eyes of others, to an uncrossable gulf. Perhaps this explains the anger we felt directed at us at the start of our relationship. People seemed to take us very, very personally. I recall a hellish car ride with a friend of his who began to castigate me in the backseat, in tones so low that only I could hear him. He told me, You wanted a rich boyfriend. You chased and snuck into parties . He spared me the insult of gold digger, but he drew, with other words, the outline for it. Most offended were the single older women, my husband’s classmates. They discussed me in the bathroom at parties when I was in the stall. What does he see in her? What do they talk about? They were concerned about me. They wielded their concern like a bludgeon. They paraphrased without meaning to my favorite line from Nabokov’s Lolita : “You took advantage of my disadvantage,” suspecting me of some weakness he in turn mined. It did not disturb them, so much, to consider that all relationships were trades. The trouble was the trade I’d made struck them as a bad one.

The truth is you can fall in love with someone for all sorts of reasons, tiny transactions, pluses and minuses, whose sum is your affection for each other, your loyalty, your commitment. The way someone picks up your favorite croissant. Their habit of listening hard. What they do for you on your anniversary and your reciprocal gesture, wrapped thoughtfully. The serenity they inspire; your happiness, enlivening it. When someone says they feel unappreciated, what they really mean is you’re in debt to them.

When I think of same-age, same-stage relationships, what I tend to picture is a woman who is doing too much for too little.

I’m 27 now, and most women my age have “partners.” These days, girls become partners quite young. A partner is supposed to be a modern answer to the oppression of marriage, the terrible feeling of someone looming over you, head of a household to which you can only ever be the neck. Necks are vulnerable. The problem with a partner, however, is if you’re equal in all things, you compromise in all things. And men are too skilled at taking .

There is a boy out there who knows how to floss because my friend taught him. Now he kisses college girls with fresh breath. A boy married to my friend who doesn’t know how to pack his own suitcase. She “likes to do it for him.” A million boys who know how to touch a woman, who go to therapy because they were pushed, who learned fidelity, boundaries, decency, manners, to use a top sheet and act humanely beneath it, to call their mothers, match colors, bring flowers to a funeral and inhale, exhale in the face of rage, because some girl, some girl we know, some girl they probably don’t speak to and will never, ever credit, took the time to teach him. All while she was working, raising herself, clawing up the cliff-face of adulthood. Hauling him at her own expense.

I find a post on Reddit where five thousand men try to define “ a woman’s touch .” They describe raised flower beds, blankets, photographs of their loved ones, not hers, sprouting on the mantel overnight. Candles, coasters, side tables. Someone remembering to take lint out of the dryer. To give compliments. I wonder what these women are getting back. I imagine them like Cinderella’s mice, scurrying around, their sole proof of life their contributions to a more central character. On occasion I meet a nice couple, who grew up together. They know each other with a fraternalism tender and alien to me.  But I think of all my friends who failed at this, were failed at this, and I think, No, absolutely not, too risky . Riskier, sometimes, than an age gap.

My younger brother is in his early 20s, handsome, successful, but in many ways: an endearing disaster. By his age, I had long since wisened up. He leaves his clothes in the dryer, takes out a single shirt, steams it for three minutes. His towel on the floor, for someone else to retrieve. His lovely, same-age girlfriend is aching to fix these tendencies, among others. She is capable beyond words. Statistically, they will not end up together. He moved into his first place recently, and she, the girlfriend, supplied him with a long, detailed list of things he needed for his apartment: sheets, towels, hangers, a colander, which made me laugh. She picked out his couch. I will bet you anything she will fix his laundry habits, and if so, they will impress the next girl. If they break up, she will never see that couch again, and he will forget its story. I tell her when I visit because I like her, though I get in trouble for it: You shouldn’t do so much for him, not for someone who is not stuck with you, not for any boy, not even for my wonderful brother.

Too much work had left my husband, by 30, jaded and uninspired. He’d burned out — but I could reenchant things. I danced at restaurants when they played a song I liked. I turned grocery shopping into an adventure, pleased by what I provided. Ambitious, hungry, he needed someone smart enough to sustain his interest, but flexible enough in her habits to build them around his hours. I could. I do: read myself occupied, make myself free, materialize beside him when he calls for me. In exchange, I left a lucrative but deadening spreadsheet job to write full-time, without having to live like a writer. I learned to cook, a little, and decorate, somewhat poorly. Mostly I get to read, to walk central London and Miami and think in delicious circles, to work hard, when necessary, for free, and write stories for far less than minimum wage when I tally all the hours I take to write them.

At 20, I had felt daunted by the project of becoming my ideal self, couldn’t imagine doing it in tandem with someone, two raw lumps of clay trying to mold one another and only sullying things worse. I’d go on dates with boys my age and leave with the impression they were telling me not about themselves but some person who didn’t exist yet and on whom I was meant to bet regardless. My husband struck me instead as so finished, formed. Analyzable for compatibility. He bore the traces of other women who’d improved him, small but crucial basics like use a coaster ; listen, don’t give advice. Young egos mellow into patience and generosity.

My husband isn’t my partner. He’s my mentor, my lover, and, only in certain contexts, my friend. I’ll never forget it, how he showed me around our first place like he was introducing me to myself: This is the wine you’ll drink, where you’ll keep your clothes, we vacation here, this is the other language we’ll speak, you’ll learn it, and I did. Adulthood seemed a series of exhausting obligations. But his logistics ran so smoothly that he simply tacked mine on. I moved into his flat, onto his level, drag and drop, cleaner thrice a week, bills automatic. By opting out of partnership in my 20s, I granted myself a kind of compartmentalized, liberating selfishness none of my friends have managed. I am the work in progress, the party we worry about, a surprising dominance. When I searched for my first job, at 21, we combined our efforts, for my sake. He had wisdom to impart, contacts with whom he arranged coffees; we spent an afternoon, laughing, drawing up earnest lists of my pros and cons (highly sociable; sloppy math). Meanwhile, I took calls from a dear friend who had a boyfriend her age. Both savagely ambitious, hyperclose and entwined in each other’s projects. If each was a start-up , the other was the first hire, an intense dedication I found riveting. Yet every time she called me, I hung up with the distinct feeling that too much was happening at the same time: both learning to please a boss; to forge more adult relationships with their families; to pay bills and taxes and hang prints on the wall. Neither had any advice to give and certainly no stability. I pictured a three-legged race, two people tied together and hobbling toward every milestone.

I don’t fool myself. My marriage has its cons. There are only so many times one can say “thank you” — for splendid scenes, fine dinners — before the phrase starts to grate. I live in an apartment whose rent he pays and that shapes the freedom with which I can ever be angry with him. He doesn’t have to hold it over my head. It just floats there, complicating usual shorthands to explain dissatisfaction like, You aren’t being supportive lately . It’s a Frenchism to say, “Take a decision,” and from time to time I joke: from whom? Occasionally I find myself in some fabulous country at some fabulous party and I think what a long way I have traveled, like a lucky cloud, and it is frightening to think of oneself as vapor.

Mostly I worry that if he ever betrayed me and I had to move on, I would survive, but would find in my humor, preferences, the way I make coffee or the bed nothing that he did not teach, change, mold, recompose, stamp with his initials, the way Renaissance painters hid in their paintings their faces among a crowd. I wonder if when they looked at their paintings, they saw their own faces first. But this is the wrong question, if our aim is happiness. Like the other question on which I’m expected to dwell: Who is in charge, the man who drives or the woman who put him there so she could enjoy herself? I sit in the car, in the painting it would have taken me a corporate job and 20 years to paint alone, and my concern over who has the upper hand becomes as distant as the horizon, the one he and I made so wide for me.

To be a woman is to race against the clock, in several ways, until there is nothing left to be but run ragged.

We try to put it off, but it will hit us at some point: that we live in a world in which our power has a different shape from that of men, a different distribution of advantage, ours a funnel and theirs an expanding cone. A woman at 20 rarely has to earn her welcome; a boy at 20 will be turned away at the door. A woman at 30 may find a younger woman has taken her seat; a man at 30 will have invited her. I think back to the women in the bathroom, my husband’s classmates. What was my relationship if not an inconvertible sign of this unfairness? What was I doing, in marrying older, if not endorsing it? I had taken advantage of their disadvantage. I had preempted my own. After all, principled women are meant to defy unfairness, to show some integrity or denial, not plan around it, like I had. These were driven women, successful, beautiful, capable. I merely possessed the one thing they had already lost. In getting ahead of the problem, had I pushed them down? If I hadn’t, would it really have made any difference?

When we decided we wanted to be equal to men, we got on men’s time. We worked when they worked, retired when they retired, had to squeeze pregnancy, children, menopause somewhere impossibly in the margins. I have a friend, in her late 20s, who wears a mood ring; these days it is often red, flickering in the air like a siren when she explains her predicament to me. She has raised her fair share of same-age boyfriends. She has put her head down, worked laboriously alongside them, too. At last she is beginning to reap the dividends, earning the income to finally enjoy herself. But it is now, exactly at this precipice of freedom and pleasure, that a time problem comes closing in. If she would like to have children before 35, she must begin her next profession, motherhood, rather soon, compromising inevitably her original one. The same-age partner, equally unsettled in his career, will take only the minimum time off, she guesses, or else pay some cost which will come back to bite her. Everything unfailingly does. If she freezes her eggs to buy time, the decision and its logistics will burden her singly — and perhaps it will not work. Overlay the years a woman is supposed to establish herself in her career and her fertility window and it’s a perfect, miserable circle. By midlife women report feeling invisible, undervalued; it is a telling cliché, that after all this, some husbands leave for a younger girl. So when is her time, exactly? For leisure, ease, liberty? There is no brand of feminism which achieved female rest. If women’s problem in the ’50s was a paralyzing malaise, now it is that they are too active, too capable, never permitted a vacation they didn’t plan. It’s not that our efforts to have it all were fated for failure. They simply weren’t imaginative enough.

For me, my relationship, with its age gap, has alleviated this rush , permitted me to massage the clock, shift its hands to my benefit. Very soon, we will decide to have children, and I don’t panic over last gasps of fun, because I took so many big breaths of it early: on the holidays of someone who had worked a decade longer than I had, in beautiful places when I was young and beautiful, a symmetry I recommend. If such a thing as maternal energy exists, mine was never depleted. I spent the last nearly seven years supported more than I support and I am still not as old as my husband was when he met me. When I have a child, I will expect more help from him than I would if he were younger, for what does professional tenure earn you if not the right to set more limits on work demands — or, if not, to secure some child care, at the very least? When I return to work after maternal upheaval, he will aid me, as he’s always had, with his ability to put himself aside, as younger men are rarely able.

Above all, the great gift of my marriage is flexibility. A chance to live my life before I become responsible for someone else’s — a lover’s, or a child’s. A chance to write. A chance at a destiny that doesn’t adhere rigidly to the routines and timelines of men, but lends itself instead to roomy accommodation, to the very fluidity Betty Friedan dreamed of in 1963 in The Feminine Mystique , but we’ve largely forgotten: some career or style of life that “permits year-to-year variation — a full-time paid job in one community, part-time in another, exercise of the professional skill in serious volunteer work or a period of study during pregnancy or early motherhood when a full-time job is not feasible.” Some things are just not feasible in our current structures. Somewhere along the way we stopped admitting that, and all we did was make women feel like personal failures. I dream of new structures, a world in which women have entry-level jobs in their 30s; alternate avenues for promotion; corporate ladders with balconies on which they can stand still, have a smoke, take a break, make a baby, enjoy themselves, before they keep climbing. Perhaps men long for this in their own way. Actually I am sure of that.

Once, when we first fell in love, I put my head in his lap on a long car ride; I remember his hands on my face, the sun, the twisting turns of a mountain road, surprising and not surprising us like our romance, and his voice, telling me that it was his biggest regret that I was so young, he feared he would lose me. Last week, we looked back at old photos and agreed we’d given each other our respective best years. Sometimes real equality is not so obvious, sometimes it takes turns, sometimes it takes almost a decade to reveal itself.

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