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4 Tricks for Using Hooks in Scrabble and Words With Friends

Add letters to hook points


Hooks, you say? We do! What is a hook? Hooks are letters or words tacked onto an existing word that let a player build up points by piggybacking on words that have already been played. Laying down long words of your own has dangers: it opens up opportunities for your opponent and risks wasting letters that would have scored better on later turns. It’s better to let your opponent play, then scoop up their points with interest by playing a few well-chosen extra letters.

We’ll show you four powerful tricks for using hooks in Scrabble and Words With Friends.

1. Play for the End

The simplest, and sometimes the best, hooks in a Scrabble or Words With Friends game are the classics. Playing a simple -ER, -ED or the all-powerful -S are how to win the game. Words that start with S are especially powerful, letting you score all your opponent’s letters and a handful of your own in one fell swoop.

An even better move is to play a hook on the end of an opponent’s word, then spin off another word at right angles. Say they played BED. If you add an S to make BEDS and then play SMELL vertically off that S, you get all the points for both the words, because both BEDS and SMELL count as your play.

Top tip: Sync up that hook with a bonus square for crazy points.

2. Think Prefixes and Suffixes

Once you’ve mastered the intricacies of the first trick (by which we mean “put an S or an ED at the ends of words that can have S and ED at the end of them”) it’s time to get interesting.

Consider the word OUTPLAYING. We got our writing staff together and compared notes; that’s one of the highest-scoring word any of us had ever played. What’s the secret? We couldn’t play it alone. It’s more than eight letters. We netted all those lovely points by slipping OUT at the start and -ING at the end of the word PLAY. Genius, right!

So keep an eye out for wherever you can play a sneaky prefix like IN- or UN-, or a suffix like -ITY, -OUS or the ever-reliable -ING, and 10 or 20 free points can be yours.

3. Add-on Words

With prefixes and suffixes at your fingertips, it may seem like you’ve got these hooks down. Not so! Pro strategies rely on some magic standalone words that can also be used as prefixes or suffixes, like OUT. Hang onto these and stick them before or after common words for a points boost:

  • OUT: outplay, outrun, lookout, rainout, shakeout

  • OVER: overblow, overtake, popover, turnover, walkover

  • UP: makeup, upbraid, updo, upend, upstart

  • DOWN: downbeat, downpour, downtown, rundown, sundown

4. Wrap-Around Letters

You don’t always need a full add-on word like DOWN or OVER, or a proper prefix and suffix to swipe the points from your opponent’s plays. Make sure you’re looking at both the beginning and the end of words on the board for where you can win easy points with just a couple of letters. For example:

This play is especially powerful with 2-letter words on the board. If your opponent beat you to our handy list of 2-letter words, this is the Scrabble cheat to defeat them.

Get Hooked

Hooks are a fundamental part of winning at Scrabble and Words With Friends. Hoard those S tiles, check your rack for prefixes and suffixes and always be ready to turn an opponent’s play into extra points for you.

Need more guidance? No problem. Check out WordFinder’s word lists, each a carefully curated collection of words that help word gamers. The lists of words that start with and end with particular letters are especially useful for building hook words. Happy pwning!

Matt Salter has been a professional writer for over 10 years. He is a gaming and technology expert, and world-class word nerd.

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