How To Remember Which Months Have 30 Days

by Marinka on March 6, 2012

The list of things that I am bad at includes but is not limited to remembering which months have 30 days and which ones have 31. I know March has 31 because that happens to be my birthday (I’ll wait while you mark your calendar) and I know that February has 28.25, but other than that, I’m not sure.

It’s not my fault that I only have one birthday.

So every once in a while I’ll ask someone “hey, June has 30 days, right?”

And instead of saying “yes!” or “no!” I get a whole load of bullshit.

“Didn’t you ever learn the poem?” a former co-worker asked me once.

“Poem?” I’d cocked my head to the side which is very adorable on me.

“Yes, poem,” she said and then proceeded to recite: “Thirty day hath January, April, June and September all the rest have thirty one except the month of Washington.”

(I’m not sure that that’s the exact poem since as I mentioned earlier who the fuck can remember which months have thirty days. And it also doesn’t rhyme, so I think it’s less of a poem and more of a combination of some words that don’t make sense.)

“Is the month of Washington a new month that hasn’t been rolled out yet?” I asked.

“It’s February,” she said. Something about President’s Day or Denzel’s birthday, got me.

So that didn’t help.

And then more recently someone showed me the knuckle game.

You start with your pinkie knuckle, and that’s the first one, January, 31, and then you go into the flesh part between the pinkie knuckle and the ring finger knuckle and that’s February, so not 31, and so on.

Except the whole thing hinges on remembering that January has 31 days, which is where things start to fall apart for me. And also who wants to sit at their desk tapping her knuckles like a junkie looking for a knuckle vein. And what if you happened to have lost a finger knuckle in a knife fight, how are you going to play this?

So here’s my secret tip for remembering: Get a calendar. And then flip to the month you’re wondering about and look. If the month shows 31 days, that means that there are 31 days during that month. And if the month shows 30 days, there are 30 during that month.

And leave the poetry nonsense to the pros.

One year ago ...

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

meekasmommy March 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm

i totally do the knuckle thing. except then i get all messed up once i get to the end (july) and wonder about august… is it a knuckle AGAIN, or does it go right down to the creased bit? 30 days or 31? (i never get it right, so dont ask me about the months august through december, mmmmkay? anything before that, sure, if you dont mind some knuckle tapping)


March 6, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Holy crap! I’ve never heard of the knuckle thing. Would be a cool thing, if not for the fact that, like you said, you look like a junkie.

Or a gorilla.


Jonathan March 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I never heard of the knuckle thing but that sounds creepy. And you’re right, for the poem to work, you pretty much have to already know which months have 30 days


March 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I don’t know what you’re talking about. I found the original poem on Wikipedia, and it couldn’t be easier to memorize:
Thirtey days hath November,
Aprile, June, and September:
Of twyecescore-eightt is but eine,
And all the remnante be thrycescore-eine.
O´course Leap yare comes an´pynes,
Ev’rie foure yares, gote it ryghth.
An´twyecescore-eight is but twyecescore-nyne.


dusty earth mother March 7, 2012 at 7:33 pm



Math Geek March 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I just know it is the end of the month because the paycheck shows up. That means the next day is the 1st.


Marinka March 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm

the 1st? Hello, what about the zero, “Math Geek”?


Math Geek March 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm

That’s what the paycheck feels like! Someday I hope to have lots of zeros on it between the first number and the decimal though!


magpie March 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm

The knuckle thing? Huh? I only recently learned the finger trick for the nine times table. You know that one? It has nothing to do with the calendar.


trkrhelp March 10, 2014 at 11:54 am

Nine times table is easy –
Nine times any number is one number less plus whatever it takes to make nine.
So 9*3 is, one number less 2 and what it takes to make 9 which is 7 so 27
9*6 is one less 5 + 4 to make 9


the mama bird diaries
March 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I could never remember that poem/song either. But don’t we all have phones now that tell us the exact date?


Mo March 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

You have made a very good point. I think this post has been nullified.


Mommy Shorts
March 7, 2012 at 12:43 am

My mother’s birthday is January 31st so I guess I have no excuse.


ladyday March 7, 2012 at 1:54 am

Thirty days hath September, April, June and November.

All the rest have thirty-one, except for February (blah blah blah, I forgot the last part).

But don’t ask me to do my times tables. I moved in the middle of the 3rd grade and never learned them. That’s what calculators are for!


Thea March 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm

This is the one I know, pretty easy to remember. I know the last line as “all the rest have 31 (exceptfebruarywhichis28andsomeetimes29)”


Mo March 7, 2012 at 5:52 am

Actually the knuckle game, the rhymes, and even your calendar-based solution are all flawed. As you pointed out, the knuckle game assumes you know how many days are in January, AND that as you progress you manage to remember whether a knuckle represents 31 or not, neither of which I am able to consistently do. The rhymes are also flawed beyond belief.

20 day hath January, April, June and December all the rest have thirty five except the month of July.

See, what help is that?

The calendar-based solution is completely silly. It relies on you knowning what year it is.


March 7, 2012 at 7:16 am

Thanks for the friendly reminder about your birthday. Again. So sneaky.


Maricris @ SittingAround March 7, 2012 at 10:56 am

Wow, you just remind me of my favorite elementary teacher who taught us the knuckle thing! Love that, it actually works. I’ve been using that ever since.


March 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm

There are ridiculous poems for these things? Perhaps that’s why I also don’t know the planets. I believe there was a poem for that. Except now Pluto’s not a planet so I’m sure the whole poem has gone down the shitter.


Leigh Ann
March 8, 2012 at 12:17 am

I’m 33 and I still play the knuckle game.


mexmom March 8, 2012 at 10:20 am

I do the knuckle thing, except sometimes I forget what means 31, knuckle or flesh… then calendars are the next best thing.


Sebastian November 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm

February is so short that it doesn’t exist.


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