Longitude and latitude are basic geography concepts, but memorizing the difference between the two is tricky. Using basic word association tricks can make it easier to understand and remember the difference. Since everyone learns differently, it is always a good idea to try multiple memorization techniques and see which works best for you.

Longitude vs. Latitude

Longitude and latitude are used to measure global location. Latitude represents the distance of a point north or south of the equator, while longitude represents the distance east or west of the Prime Meridian. Thus, latitude "lines" run east-west around the earth and longitude "lines" run north-south.

Word Associations

One trick to remember the difference between longitude and latitude is to use word associations. Think of the "long" in "longitude." Longitude lines run "long" from the North Pole to the South Pole. Think of "latitude" as "ladder"-tude. The east-west latitude lines are like the rungs of a ladder, creating horizontal lines around the earth.

Poem

Try memorizing this quick poem: "Longitude lines go up and down, latitude lines go round and round." To commit the poem to memory, repeat the words out loud a few times. Make a note card with the poem on it, and repeat the poem a few times per day until you have it memorized. Once memorized, you can quickly recite the poem in your head as necessary to remember the difference between longitude and latitude.

Mouth Movement

Get in front of a mirror and look at the way your mouth moves when you say "longitude" and "latitude" slowly. You'll notice that "longitude" makes your mouth stretch downward, while latitude makes the mouth stretch from side to side. The mouth movements mimic the direction of the longitude and latitude lines. Longitude lines stretch up and down, while latitude lines stretch from side to side.