How to Remember the Diatomic Elements

Chemistry is complex, but of course, that is simply a personal opinion. I find it to be so full of rules and comprised of so many small details that I am constantly forced to develop mnemonic tricks to keep the numbers, letters and formulas from slipping too far away from recovery. One such trick is a clever phrase that I created to remember the elements that occur naturally in diatomic states: My honey cleans the floor with a broom.

These diatomic elements are iodine, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, fluorine and bromine. The order I chose to list them is significant because when they are viewed by their abbreviations (I2, H2, O2, N2, Cl2, F2, Br2) a sort of distorted acronym for the above-mentioned phrase begins to materialize.

Iodine is represented by the letter I. One could easily relate I with the possessive adjective my. One can also note that the two words not only relate to describing the self, but that they also rhyme.

Hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, represented by the letters H, O and N, comprise the shortened, more casual form of the word honey. So why didn’t I just use hon? It doesn’t sound as … hmm … cute?

The Cl that represents the element chlorine serves as the first two letters for the word cleans. The F of fluorine likewise is the first letter of floor, and Br (representing bromine) follows the same concept in that it makes up the first two letters of the word broom.

I honey cleans floor broom? Well, that could mean anything, and without the filler words the, with and a, it would simply be a another list of random words that makes the whole point of my little mnemonic phrase, well, pointless. In regards to our dear diatomic elements, my honey cleans the floor with a broom has not only saved me on test questions but has been permanently ingrained in my memory.