# Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey

#### Budthestud

##### BAMF
Righty tighty, lefty loosey

I seriously don't get this, and have never understood it at all. Why can't people just say clockwise/counterclockwise.

#### TimeAsylums

##### Prolific Member
Yes, mnemonics are useless and a waste of time to memorize. Why can't everyone just memorize information exactly as it is. Bastards.

#### OldCoyote

##### Trickster
Probably because more people are handwise than clockwise..

#### Jennywocky

##### guud languager
I seriously don't get this, and have never understood it at all. Why can't people just say clockwise/counterclockwise.

Don't ask me, I've never even heard the slang you mentioned.

I use clockwise and counterclockwise as my reference terms.

#### Thurlor

##### Nutter
What bugs me about that phrase is that it isn't very specific.

Right and left from which perspective? Clockwise is right from the top yet left from the bottom but nowhere in that phrase is such specified.

Interestingly enough I know it as anti-clockwise as opposed to counter-clockwise. I wonder if it's a regional difference.

##### think again losers
Yes, mnemonics are useless and a waste of time to memorize. Why can't everyone just memorize information exactly as it is. Bastards.

#### Grayman

##### Team Ignorant
I seriously don't get this, and have never understood it at all. Why can't people just say clockwise/counterclockwise.

I work on stuff that uses this 'function' all the time and once you do it enough and show enough people you just drop the who left and right bit and go for the good stuff. I only hear it from noobs at my work now. Try doing that and turn the wrench with the bolt's head away from you. I've seen people shit their pants from the effort.

FUUUUUUU$# which way .... FFFFFUUUUUUU#@@# .... G000000000&&&&&& DDAAMMMMMM****** THIS THING IS TIIIIGGGGHHHHT >>>>>*SNAAAAP Yah, I think you tightened it, instead of loosening it. Well,$\$W# why didn't you say anything.

...

I don't know...

#### Cognisant

##### Prolific Member
It works for me, just like the left and right hand rules.

#### Hawkeye

##### Banned
I seriously don't get this, and have never understood it at all. Why can't people just say clockwise/counterclockwise.

Could it be that clockwise and counter-clockwise offer no help in remembering which does what?

##### think again losers
Could it be that clockwise and counter-clockwise offer no help in remembering which does what?

It does if you can read the time and visualise a clock.

#### Hawkeye

##### Banned
It does if you can read the time and visualise a clock.

That doesn't differentiate which one tightens and which one loosens; however, right to tighten, left to loosen does.

#### Grayman

##### Team Ignorant
That doesn't differentiate which one tightens and which one loosens; however, right to tighten, left to loosen does.

clockwise moves forward in time and counter is backwards in time. Clockwise moves the bolt forward and counter moves it back.

#### Thurlor

##### Nutter
Here in Australia all gas fittings are 'reverse thread'. I've known a few people to break their bbq fittings.

#### Hawkeye

##### Banned
clockwise moves forward in time and counter is backwards in time. Clockwise moves the bolt forward and counter moves it back.

Better, but I think it's more abstract than it needs to be. Plus, these days more people are shown the time digitally than analogue.

#### OldCoyote

##### Trickster
Left brained people can't get the screw in and right can.

My Ol' lady said I'm a left brained people..

#### pernoctator

##### a bearded robocop
Right and left from which perspective? Clockwise is right from the top yet left from the bottom but nowhere in that phrase is such specified.

They're called "right-handed" or "left-handed" screws because it takes less physical effort to apply clockwise torque with your right hand and vice versa.

Of course this necessary information isn't included in the mnemonic, which defeats the purpose. It would make more sense if the association was "comfortable = tighten; uncomfortable = loosen", which could be linked to the motion by noting how rotating your hand feels. Assuming you are right-handed.

#### Ziast

##### Redshirt
Well, and here I thought I was the only one who didn't understand that stupid rhyme. My friend had a good laugh the other day when she watched me struggle.

#### Architect

##### Professional INTP
In the building trades people are doing repetitive work that doesn't take a lot of thinking really; they grind basically. Same thing for fisherman and other trades. So these people build up pat phrases and litanies that they repeat such as the one above. I think they say them because it's an easy answer. You're in the middle of some job, working hard, brain disengaged while you hammer, hammer hammer. Some other guy isn't sure which way to screw the lightbulb so this gives you a ready answer. You can belt it out with some satisfaction too.

Just a cultural thing for those groups, and yes I worked in them when younger.

#### Coolydudey

##### You could say that.
In the building trades people are doing repetitive work that doesn't take a lot of thinking really; they grind basically. Same thing for fisherman and other trades. So these people build up pat phrases and litanies that they repeat such as the one above. I think they say them because it's an easy answer. You're in the middle of some job, working hard, brain disengaged while you hammer, hammer hammer. Some other guy isn't sure which way to screw the lightbulb so this gives you a ready answer. You can belt it out with some satisfaction too.

Just a cultural thing for those groups, and yes I worked in them when younger.

+ It sounds "good"

#### The Introvert

##### Goose! (Duck, Duck)
clockwise moves forward in time and counter is backwards in time. Clockwise moves the bolt forward and counter moves it back.
I call bullshit on this.

It could just as easily be clockwise turns the bolt backwards and counter-clockwise moves it forwards. "Forward" could be seen as driving the screw further or removing it further.

I agree with the sarcastic bastard that mentioned mnemonic devices are a waste of time.

#### pernoctator

##### a bearded robocop
It could just as easily be clockwise turns the bolt backwards and counter-clockwise moves it forwards. "Forward" could be seen as driving the screw further or removing it further.

In each case, clockwise is the direction of the primary function, and counterclockwise reverts it (primary function = what's necessary for the device's existence to make sense -- it's absurd to imagine a clock that can be set back but doesn't move forward / a lock that only unlocks / a screw that can only be removed).

So there is a consistent pattern there (although it's only coincidental). And real-world patterns are generally easier to remember than silly rhyming mnemonics, I think.

#### The Introvert

##### Goose! (Duck, Duck)
In each case, clockwise is the direction of the primary function, and counterclockwise reverts it (primary function = what's necessary for the device's existence to make sense -- it's absurd to imagine a clock that can be set back but doesn't move forward / a lock that only unlocks / a screw that can only be removed).
That's the point I was trying to make. You can make a case for either one; the reason the mnemonic device is useful is because it gives you both direction and function, not just one or the other.
So there is a consistent pattern there (although it's only coincidental). And real-world patterns are generally easier to remember than silly rhyming mnemonics, I think.
I disagree.

Real-world mnemonics are generally easier to remember than silly patterns, I think.

-Jr.

#### Hawkeye

##### Banned
And real-world patterns are generally easier to remember than silly rhyming mnemonics, I think.

Not for everyone; some people learn better by using mnemonics, others don't.

I like the number of days in each month mnemonic. It's easier to learn than going January: 31 days, February: 28/29, March: 31, etc... and is actually rather efficient too.

#### pernoctator

##### a bearded robocop
You can make a case for either one

I didn't see you make a case, though. Can you describe a framework that includes both screws and clocks, where a clock measuring time forward is akin to a screw being unscrewed?

the reason the mnemonic device is useful is because it gives you both direction and function, not just one or the other.

The pattern Grayman / I are talking about is "clockwise = use; counterclockwise = revert". This does give you both direction and function. I can't imagine how one could construe unscrewing, or resetting a clock, as the "use" rather than the "revert". A "single-use bolt" is of course one that can be screwed in but not removed.

Not for everyone; some people learn better by using mnemonics, others don't.

I like the number of days in each month mnemonic. It's easier to learn than going January: 31 days, February: 28/29, March: 31, etc... and is actually rather efficient too.

Of course, because the months don't have any discernible pattern. I'm talking about things like "green means go and red means stop". This is a pattern that applies to many things, e.g. "green = on; red = off", "green = safe; red = danger". It's much more natural to remember all of these at once based on their similarities, than to have a separate rhyme for each one. So why not simply teach people that clocks and screws work the same way?

#### redbaron

##### irony based lifeform
I think the thing to remember is that mnemonics are designed to make it easier for people with no previous knowledge to remember something. So teaching someone clockwise/anti-clockwise for screws is fine, but it doesn't give any context as to which one does what - which leaves them still with exactly the same problem of, 'does it tighten or loosen it if I turn it clockwise?'

Hence, 'Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey' - because it explains both.

Which by the way doesn't refer to the screw itself, it refers to the way you turn your hands. Turn your hand left and it loosens the screw, turn it right and it will tighten.

So why not simply teach people that clocks and screws work the same way?
Probably because they don't, unless you apply a certain abstract line of reasoning to their functions first - which you'd then have to explain if they didn't understand it.

Whereas lefty loosey, righty tighty is simple and easy to remember.

#### Thurlor

##### Nutter
I think there are too many exceptions for it to be a proper mnemonic.

- Gas fittings.
- Lawn Mower blades ( mostly anything that rotates will be tightened in the opposing direction).
- Head bolts on some engines.
- Some electronics casings (don't get me started on crazy triangular screw heads).

It's always amazed me that a thread/screw is just a variant of a wedge in terms of tools. The amount of force that they allow to be applied to a given area is quite amazing.

@ Hawkeye

OT - I've always liked using my knuckles to help remember the number of days in each month.

#### Hawkeye

##### Banned
Instead of "thumbs up", or "+1" I am going to say "first" because the conversation has become a continual rehash of what has already been said (by me). ^^

@ Hawkeye

OT - I've always liked using my knuckles to help remember the number of days in each month.

Yeah, I've seen a couple of people do it that way. It confused the hell out of me when I first saw it.

#### The Introvert

##### Goose! (Duck, Duck)
I didn't see you make a case, though. Can you describe a framework that includes both screws and clocks, where a clock measuring time forward is akin to a screw being unscrewed?
See post #24
It could just as easily be clockwise turns the bolt backwards and counter-clockwise moves it forwards. "Forward" could be seen as driving the screw further or removing it further.
Extrapolate that to encompass "backward" to mean the opposite. It can go either way; there is no clear way to remember "counter-clockwise means it loosens/tightens" unless you just remember which one clockwise or counter-clockwise affects the screw. It's obviously difficult to remember sometimes, which is why "righty tighty left loosey" was created to give direction and result. It's easy to say, and easy to remember.

#### Grayman

##### Team Ignorant
See post #24
Extrapolate that to encompass "backward" to mean the opposite.

Your argument does not make sense because the point of reference is the speaker or user. Forward is always forward for the user and backward is always backwards from the user.

It was a bad idea anyways, even if not for that reason, because not all things screwed and unscrewed move away and toward the user.

#### pernoctator

##### a bearded robocop
It can go either way; there is no clear way to remember "counter-clockwise means it loosens/tightens" unless you just remember which one clockwise or counter-clockwise affects the screw.

It can go either way; there is no clear way to remember "right means clockwise/counterclockwise" unless you just remember which part of your hand top or bottom to look at.

The problem with your argument is that you're overlooking the point that we are relying on pre-existing knowledge (using the clock as a reference). In your case, you're considering the screw as the only knowledge.

Mnemonics suffer from the fact that the word play is the only point of reference, which limits their application.

#### Minuend

##### pat pat
In the building trades people are doing repetitive work that doesn't take a lot of thinking really; they grind basically. Same thing for fisherman and other trades. So these people build up pat phrases and litanies that they repeat such as the one above. I think they say them because it's an easy answer. You're in the middle of some job, working hard, brain disengaged while you hammer, hammer hammer. Some other guy isn't sure which way to screw the lightbulb so this gives you a ready answer. You can belt it out with some satisfaction too.

Just a cultural thing for those groups, and yes I worked in them when younger.

I would think people who work with this stuff daily don't really need rhymes. Even if you don't get it the first time, 10 times or so should. And then repeating it most of the days after that should make it stick. It becomes a habit they don't need to think about. Like driving or walking.

I would think these phrases are more helpful who those who don't handle bolts and such on a regular basis. It can also appeals to the distant minded and whimsical who pays less attention to elements outside their own mind.

clockwise moves forward in time and counter is backwards in time. Clockwise moves the bolt forward and counter moves it back.

Interesting. I always imagine bolts going up or down, not back and forth.

#### Grayman

##### Team Ignorant
Interesting. I always imagine bolts going up or down, not back and forth.

It is natural to unbolt something while facing the head of the bolt as apposed to looking at the side of the bolt. One wants to see the entire bolt while removing the said bolt.

#### redbaron

##### irony based lifeform
The problem with your argument is that you're overlooking the point that we are relying on pre-existing knowledge (using the clock as a reference). In your case, you're considering the screw as the only knowledge.

The problem with your argument is that you're overlooking the point that mnemonics are supposed to help the learning process for people without pre-existing knowledge. To explain:

Let's say we both have 5 year olds, equal in every way and presented with the same problem - they don't know how to tighten/loosen screws.

Our goal here, is for us to teach them:

- how to do this
- but to also find a way to replicate the action on their own
- to be able to pass on this knowledge to others and,
- for them to learn all this in as short a time as possible

I'll tell my five year old: "Grab the screw, turn your hand righty to tighty, and left to loosey. Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey."

You can try explaining to a five year old the concept of coincidental patterns, and that the way you turn a screw to the desired effect is relative to the primary function of the screw in the same way that clockwise is relative to the primary function of a clock, and other real world patterns.

Pretty sure my five year old will win and meet all the required goals faster than yours, which is what mnemonics are designed to do: provide simple ways of completing simple tasks. Building systemic knowledge in the way you're describing it, is reliant on previous knowledge.

Mnemonics are simple and explanatory in and of themselves, which is their purpose.

#### Minuend

##### pat pat
It is natural to unbolt something while facing the head of the bolt as apposed to looking at the side of the bolt. One wants to see the entire bolt while removing the said bolt.

When I visualize, I see what direction the bolt is going, not the human so to speak. Except from tire shifts, I tend to screw bolts down into whatever. That's the association.

What is visualized can be quite abstract and/ or different from the action. I guess that's one of the reasons the lefty loosey thing is more universal.

#### pernoctator

##### a bearded robocop
The problem with your argument is that you're overlooking the point that mnemonics are supposed to help the learning process for people without pre-existing knowledge.

I'm not overlooking that, I'm describing an alternative to it. The problem was that he wasn't understanding how that alternative works because he was assuming the same conditions (lack of pre-existing knowledge).

Mnemonics are simple and explanatory in and of themselves, which is their purpose.

As you can tell from the OP and Ziast (and I have the same problem with this myself), this one is not self-explanatory. "Right" is not a direction of rotation. This relies on a separate association just to make the rhyming words meaningful... so the question remains, why not make the direct association in the first place?

#### redbaron

##### irony based lifeform
this one is not self-explanatory. "Right" is not a direction of rotation.

Mnemonics do not need to actually be specific, they are designed to help you remember. It's like in music - EGBDF - Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit.

Remembering, 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit' doesn't explain the musical annotation behind it - it's a reminder, which you learn to use by taking the first letter in each word of the phrase to remember musical annotation.

So too is, 'Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty' used in the same way. It reminds you to, 'rotate your hand to the righty to tighty, and to the lefty to loosey'. Alliteration and rhyme make it easy to remember. Right doesn't need to be a direction of rotation - that would defeat the point of the mnemonic in the first place. You use it because you can't remember which way to rotate your hand in the first place.

It's used to jog memory, like using a cue-card for a speech. By using the mnemonic/cue-card you only need to remember a very basic concept, which serves as a reminder of the more complicated one.

You're criticizing the mnemonic for being a mnemonic

#### pernoctator

##### a bearded robocop
You're criticizing the mnemonic for being a mnemonic

I'm criticizing a bad mnemonic. You're right, it doesn't need to be exact, but it should leave you with some distinguishing information. An example of a good mnemonic is one that helps you remember "ROYGBIV". Although it doesn't tell you the exact colors, it gives you the letters they start with which can be enough to work out the rest.

But this mnemonic is akin to using a phrase of the same repeated letter to remember another phrase of the same repeated letter. It gives you no information at all. A rotation is a simultaneous right and left motion. "Right loose, left tight" would be equally valid, and equally useless in determining the association.

#### redbaron

##### irony based lifeform
"Right loose, left tight" would be equally valid.

No, it wouldn't.

The saying refers to the direction you rotate your hand - right to tighten, left to loosen. It doesn't refer to the way you turn the screw (which obviously turns in both directions regardless of the way you turn your hand).

#### pernoctator

##### a bearded robocop
:The saying refers to the direction you rotate your hand - right to tighten, left to loosen.

If I move my hand to the right, it would no longer be touching the screw.

There is no such thing as "rotating right".

#### redbaron

##### irony based lifeform
If I move my hand to the right, it would no longer be touching the screw.

There is no such thing as "rotating right".

#### Grayman

##### Team Ignorant

If you look at the top of the screw and turn it to the right the screw will turn clockwise but if you look at the bottom of the screw and turn it to the right the screw will turn counter clockwise.

That is why it is confusing and I agree with Pernoctator that horizontal directions should not be used as rotational indicators.

I have had to tell a few people to turn it from the top and not the bottom.

#### redbaron

##### irony based lifeform
If you look at the top of the screw and turn it to the right the screw will turn clockwise but if you look at the bottom of the screw and turn it to the right the screw will turn counter clockwise. That is why it is confusing and I agree with Pernoctator that horizontal directions should not be used as rotational indicators.

For nearly the tenth time in the thread, it doesn't refer to the screw.

#### Thurlor

##### Nutter
@ redbaron

The same confusion applies to the hand. It doesn't matter what is turning. Something that is rotating clockwise is moving both left and right.

#### Grayman

##### Team Ignorant
For nearly the tenth time in the thread, it doesn't refer to the screw.

Well, in that case down is loosen and tighten. I like to put all my weight on it no matter what way I go. Yah, I'm lazy and don't want to put that much effort in but hey, we all have our weaknesses.

#### redbaron

##### irony based lifeform
Okay.

I just hope you guys don't take everything this literally.

"Wait, when you say to turn right, do you want me to turn the steering wheel clockwise or counter-clockwise?!"

#### Grayman

##### Team Ignorant
Okay.

I just hope you guys don't take everything this literally.

"Wait, when you say to turn right, do you want me to turn the steering wheel clockwise or counter-clockwise?!"

I have seen the confusion occur from this concept so often that I would have to suffer amnesia as to see it your way, but I guess it is possible my past experiences don't dictate future results.