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I'm writing a program that accept numbers as parameters. 1 means one thing and 2 means another. So in the help message, I want to express, "to help you memorize/make sense what 1 or 2 stands for, think of" bla bla bla.

Because the help message should be as short as possible, I need to choose the shortest word that clearly express the whole "to help you memorize/make sense what it stands for" thing. So suppose I've chosen a word, or "~" for time being, and ":" expresses the idea of "means", my help would look like,

1: one thing ~ the beginning

If the above all sounds too abstracted, here is an concrete example. Just remember that,

  • ":" represents "means", and
  • "~" represents the whole "to help you memorize/think of/make sense what it stands for" thing.

The concrete example:

  1. : Do ~ doe, a deer, a female deer
  2. : Re ~ ray, a drop of golden sun
  3. : Mi ~ me, a name I call myself
  4. : Fa ~ far, a long, long way to run
  5. : So ~ sew, a needle pulling thread

Got me?

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You're overthinking the problem and adding complexity where no complexity is needed.

  • 1: cat
  • 2: dog
  • 3: sparrow
  • 4: car

...is random. There's no way for you to create a mnemonic for it because the numbers bear no natural relationship to cats, dogs, birds, or vehicles.

So if that's your situation, just lay it out as I did in my example. If you have few enough items, people can remember them by brute force, and brute force is the only way they can unless they can invent some personal mnemonic such as their first companion was a cat and their family is on their 4th car.

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