4 Tricks for Using Hooks in Scrabble and Words With Friends

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Hooks, you say? We do! What is a hook? In games like Scrabble and Words With Friends, a hook is a letter tacked onto an existing word, letting a player piggyback 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.

1. “S” Spells Victory

The simplest, and sometimes the best, hooks in a Scrabble or Words With Friends game are the classics. Playing the all-powerful S at the end of a word is one of the most reliable ways to steal a win. Words that end with S are especially powerful, letting you score all your opponent’s letters and a handful of your own in one fell swoop.

Say that your opponent got lucky and managed to turn “quit” on the board into “quitter.” If you hook an S to the end of that word, you create “quitters.” That one letter will net you 17 points in Scrabble and 18 points in Words With Friends. Plus, use that S to form another word in the other direction and you’ll earn points for both words.

scrabble board with hook examplescrabble board with hook example

2. Transform Words

Another excellent way to use hooks is to have a strong command of your vocabulary. Adding an S to the end of a word isn’t the only way to score points off your opponent’s hard work. Being clever by adding a vowel or a new consonant (aside from S) to a word to make a new one is a great way to boost your confidence during a game.

Did your opponent play “rake” two turns ago? Was the R in the word next to a score multiplier square? Get those bonus points and some regular ones by hooking the B, C or D on your rack to the start of the word to create “brake,” “crake” or “drake.”

3. Pad the Two-Letter Words

One of the most important things to do to become a strong Scrabble player is memorize the two-letter words. The first reason is that doing so will give you consistent and reliable options for building complete words off existing letters on the board. It will also give you the chance to create hooks to spell useful three-letter words.

When you have a Z that you don’t have a good use for, one option is to hook it to an A to create “za.” It doesn’t have to stop there, however. During one of your next turns, you can add an S to the end of “za” to spell “zas.” Playing those two letters will have earned you 23 quick points in Scrabble or Words With Friends.

zas scrabble hook examplezas scrabble hook example

4. Hook Onto All of Your Hooks

If you’ll pardon the dad joke, this hook trick builds off of the previous one. Once you’ve added a bunch of hooks to the board, you get to do something fun: You get to do it again. Plenty of words have various forms and entirely different words to make from them. Adding a hook to a word is not always a one-and-done situation. Find words to hook to already hooked words and you can take an even more commanding lead in a game.

If you created “cope” by adding an E to “cop” earlier in the game, you can hook to it again. Add an S to the beginning of the word to spell “scope.” Even if it’s only by using one letter, you’re still making a word or a series of letters work for you more than once.

Get Hooked on Learning Scrabble Terms

Now that you know what a hook is, you might be wondering what other important Scrabble terms exist. That’s where our glossary of essential Scrabble terms can help. This list spells out everything you need to know about the most common Scrabble words and phrases. For example, while a “hook” in Scrabble involves adding one letter to make a new word, an “extension” means adding more than one letter to make a new word.

Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.


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