Lefty-Loosey Righty-Tighty: Not At All Helpful

Imagine this: someone is struggling to twist the lid or cap off something, say a jar, and someone else present (perhaps you the reader) thinks it helpful to declare, “Lefty-loosey, righty-tighty!” as though they are some kind of lid wizard passing down wise words to live by.

Guess what. Lefty-loosey righty-tighty is dumb. And not only dumb, unhelpful.

You see, things that move in a cyclical motion don’t move left or right. They can temporarily, but not in perpetuity. Inevitably left turns to right and right to left and so on.


Anyway, as you can see, when attempting to turn something left, for instance, there are two equally logical ways to go about it, and they just happen to be opposite directions. Because of this inherent ambiguity, “lefty-loosey” does not meet the criteria of what one should consider useful instruction. You might as well say “left or right is loose or tight”, which is just as unhelpful as the original saying and rhymes just as well.

As it turns out, there already exists a system of describing the directions of things that spin – clockwise or counter-clockwise. And we can use the poetic device, alliteration (rather than rhyme), to form a phrase somewhat lacking in pizzazz to help you determine which way to turn depending on your intentions: “clockwise close”. If you turn a lid clockwise, it will close. To open, simply do the opposite and go counter-clockwise. This applies to all kinds of twist caps, twist lids, screws etc. Clockwise close.

It’s that easy. You’re welcome.


One thought on “Lefty-Loosey Righty-Tighty: Not At All Helpful

  1. Thank you for noticing. I thought I was the only one. This drives me crazy that some people not only think “righty tighty” makes sense but that they simply cannot grasp why it’s useless, even when I explain it. They look at me like I’m the crazy one.


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