Thanks for listening :)
I'm rusty on this, but the suffixes and prefixes (preficies and sufficies?*) follow a trend within a series.
In some cases these forms don't all exist, so you have to know the series already to some extent.
Also, if you have a few molecules in your head already, then you can remember the charge. For example, H2SO4 is sulfuric acid. I always remember SO4 is -2 because of the two hydrogens.
Part of the trick is to treat this as a language in that you have to get to listening for what sounds natural much like matching the appropriately gendered article to an ambiguous word in German or French.
*I don't have my irregular plurals memorized yet, and I've been speaking English all my life.
That's a great way of looking at it, as learning a language. I think I'm starting to get the hang of some of them just because I've heard/read them several times before. I thank science fiction writers and scienceblogs.com for making it really easy for me to memorize most of the element names and symbols already.
You poor thing...
This site addresses your problem, it even sympathizes with you about memorizing the dreadful things. Good luck!
I think this site is exactly what I need, thank you so much. Isn't this the cold hard truth:
"First year students are often asked to memorize lists of polyatomic ions without any context. Mnemonics can be helpful, but they provide an artificial way to organizing what must be memorized. This beginner's guide to polyatomic ions will eventually provide a relevant context for students learning the names and formulas of polyatomic ions"
Mnemonics never work for me because it seems like more work to memorize the mnemonic than the actual information. I swear the only thing I ever learned by mnemonics was the order of the planets, and now that's all messed up with the whole Pluto thing. Nachos I guess it is now.
Thanks to you both.