How to Dominate The Scrabble Board and Improve your Unscrambling Skills

Looking to dominate your next Scrabble game? Whether you’re an avid player looking to win the championship or someone who just plays occasionally, it’s important to understand what makes up the game of Scrabble and how you can improve your unscrambling skills, so that you are always prepared and know your best options on the board at all times.

You’ve played Scrabble many times in your life, whether it’s with friends or family members, at school, or even online; and you might have thought that some people just have the gift to unscramble the most difficult words out of an otherwise easy-to-identify jumble of letters.

But it turns out you can learn how to do that too, and no matter how good you think you are at unscrambling the best way to get there isn’t by reading the dictionary but by reading this article.


Look at Common Letter Pairs

One of the best ways to decipher words is by considering common letter pairings. By analyzing how two or more letters in a word behave together, you can make progress and finally solve the word.

For instance, if you have an E in the third spot, there are going to be a lot of words with EE as a combination of two letters. This can help you guess more successfully. So if you find a word that may be one of them, this should give you a good idea of how to go about unscrambling the others.

Scrable Board Game

A helpful tip we recommend is to look at where words are broken up. If they always break on vowels or end on vowels, then those are good places to start trying out new combinations until you find one that fits.

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Word Fragments and Smaller Words

You can improve your ability to unscramble words by learning how to recognize word fragments and smaller words that can be built on.

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For example, let’s take a look at RDORAYIN, for instance. This might seem like an awkward phrase at first, but it contains a couple of word fragments that can be used to construct a proper word. Mainly, letter combinations such as “OR” and “IN

It’s a good way to use these fragments as a starting block for a word, and in this case, we get:

ORdinary and INroad

The general rule of thumb would be to look out for common prefixes and suffixes. Here are some popular English prefixes as well as suffixes:


a-, acro-, allo-, an-, ante-, anti-, auto-, bi- , co-, contra-, counter-, de-, di- , dis-, down-, dys-, epi-, extra-, hemi-, hexa-, hyper-,  hypo-, ig-, il-, im-, in-,infra-,inter-,intra-,ir-,macro-,mal-,maxi-,meso-,micro-,mid-,mini-,mono-,multi-,non-,octo-,over-,pan-,para-,penta-,per-,peri-,poly-,post-,pre-,pro-,proto-,pseudo-,quadri-,quasi-,re-,self-,semi-,sub-,super-,supra-,tetra-,trans-,tri-,ultra-,un-,under-,up-,xeno-


s (makes anything plural), en, ed, ing, er, est, ation, sion, cian, ess, ness, al, ary, ment, able, ly, ful, ize, ate, ology, able, ible, hood, ism

Why should you do this?

From a statistical point of view, removing characters related to a prefix or suffix can reduce the number of combinations remaining for the remainder of the sorting alphabet.

For those versed in mathematics, this is called permutations. Because the number of possible sequences grows exponentially as the number of letters increases, a smaller number of permutations is required for fewer letters in a word.

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Characters can be clustered together to form words’ prefixes and suffixes. In order to find the word you can play around with the letters that you’ve had to work with to reduce, or you can eliminate letters to narrow it down.

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When you find a word’s suffix or prefix, remove it and it just might be easier for you to come up with a solution for the word.

Besides aiding in reading comprehension, recognizing the roots of words and their common prefixes/suffixes can help broaden your vocabulary.

Even if you don’t know the meaning of a word, you may be able to make an educated guess from the root of the word. However, if you’re still having difficulty coming up with words relevant to your subject, tools that unscramble words are there to help you get back on track.

Word fragments and smaller words

Vowels and Consonants

One good method is to build from the vowels to derive consonants. What makes vowels the better choice? The convention is that each syllable has at least one vowel letter, with vowel sounds occurring most commonly in the center of a syllable, while the remaining letters often have a repetitive pattern in relation to vowels.

Thus, if there are more consonants than vowels or vice versa, there are a very limited number of combinations that can be used to make words. Put some consonants in the template, put the vowels in the middle, and try to move the letters around. You should come up with a word in no time.

You will also begin to see some common patterns. For example, “consonant-vowel – consonant-vowel ” as this combination makes up a big case of four-letter words in the English language.

Here is another tip when you are looking for vowels.

Look for common two-letter consonant pairs like “th”. Example: BTHO can be converted to  B O T H.

Whenever we see an S, we can use it to form a syllable within the word or add it to the end of the last word to make it plural. In Scrabble, the letter S is usually the most useful.

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As an example of how this method works, given the word Scramble VAEWS, it recognizes the “VE” pattern. After rearranging the characters, we get _VE_.

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When building the rest of the word, the first letter we write is A (before V, the most logical way to keep the consonants of a word): _AVE_. Test the rest by placing them within the remaining two spaces. By swapping the letters around we finally get WAVES a word we are familiar with.

We can also construct words by putting a vowel in the 2nd position of the unscrambled word and testing other consonants around it. In the last example, we can pick the letter A or E and put other letters before and after it. This leads to the possible combinations of SAV, VAS, WAV, and VAW.

Let’s Review

You can simplify the problem by using your knowledge of the English language to reduce the number of ways to decipher the words by applying these tips and tricks.

Next time you try to unscramble a word try this:

  • See a particular letter pattern
  • Remove characters that match common sequences from a larger set – With fewer letters around you are increasing your chances of spotting a familiar pattern by removing characters that match common sequences, such as roots, suffixes, and prefixes.

We hope you found this quick guide helpful and are now prepared to crush your next Scramble game. Try your newly acquired skills out on Word with Friends or Scrabble. We wish you good luck and a lot of fun!

Don’t forget to check out other useful educational apps that we have already reviewed on this blog in the past.

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