Can Letters Repeat in Wordle? A Closer Look at the Rules
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Wordle’s Rules and Dealing With Repeat Letters
Wordle rules aren’t complex. We know that simple plural forms of words or the words that are only ever proper nouns are never the answers to the daily Wordle puzzles. The game only uses common words (most of the time) that will use normal spelling patterns.
The unknown factors of a puzzle are what bring forth its complexity. And that complexity creates an equal number of questions:
How many consonants are in this word?
How many vowels does it have?
Is there anything random like a Z or an X in there?
And, the question most important to us now: Can you have two of the same letter in Wordle?
Examples of Wordle Answers With Duplicate Letters
The answer to that question is “yes.” As proof, here are some previous Wordle answers with duplicate letters in them:
How Wordle Uses Duplicate Letters
Once we have that sneaking suspicion that the answer is using a letter more than once, we need to remember Wordle’s three rules for duplicates.
The answer will have at most two sets of duplicate letters. Wordle only uses five-letter words, after all.
There are no five-letter words that use the same letter four times. They can only be sets of two or three.
If you try a word that shares duplicate letters with the answer, every instance of that letter will change color. For example, if you guess ”lever” and the answer is “eaten,” the first E in “lever” will turn yellow and the second one will turn green. The first one is in the word but in the wrong spot, and the second one is in the correct spot. The other letters will turn gray.
Keep in mind that Wordle tells you when a letter is not duplicated, too. If you use two of the same letter in a word, and only one of them turns yellow or green, then there is only one copy of that letter in the correct Wordle answer.
Wordle Clone Caution
These are the rules created and used by Wordle. Most Wordle-inspired games also implement them, but not all of them do. There are a number of similar sites and Wordle apps that only identify the types of letters in a puzzle’s answer instead of identifying each copy of them.
If we go back to our example above and apply this process to it, “lever” would reveal that E is in the answer. The problem is that it would only turn the second E green and ignore the first one. That can easily lead you to believe there’s only one E in the answer.
This design choice is rare for most Wordle clones, but you do want to be aware of it whenever you play one you’ve never tried before.
The Wordle Letter Patterns You’re Up Against
Once you know how to play Wordle and how duplicate letters work, what then? How does that help you? That’s easy: It helps by directing you toward the spelling patterns that will narrow down your best word choices. These are the most common patterns to remember when trying to eliminate duplicate letters as a possibility.
Duplicate letters commonly use a double-letter pairing. An example of this is “knoll,” a previous Wordle answer that stumped many players. These double letters — double-L in the case of “knoll” — usually show up at the end of a word. But, they can also sneak their way into the middle. Take “beefy,” for example, which is also difficult because the Wordle double letter is a vowel.
Separated letters are also important to watch out for. Consider the word “armor,” for instance. It has two R’s, but they are separated by the M and O. The second R also rests at the end of the word, which is a common spot for it.
A combination of letter patterns is also possible. When this happens, you end up in the unfortunate position of having a Wordle answer with only three letters in it. A word such as “array” can be particularly devastating. It has two sets of duplicate letters using different patterns. Plus, the third letter is an uncommon Y. It’s the perfect storm to end your Wordle win streak.
Triplicate letters are the last threat to watch out for. “Puppy,” though a very common word, is the exact type of word many people would not be able to deduce in time. Both U and Y aren’t super common. And, even if you figure out the P has a duplicate, figuring out that it has one more after that could be a matter of luck.
Working and Winning With the Repeats
So, how do you deal with these? The truth is that it’s not always easy and requires a lot of patience and a strong vocabulary. You usually won’t wonder if a word has duplicate letters until after your second or third guess. Once you see that only one or two letters have turned yellow or green, that’s your signal to pick another strategy.
This is when you need to take a look at the letters you’ve used and think about the words they can appear in together. More importantly, you need to figure out if any of those letters ever double up while together. Let’s take a look at another example to help clear things up.
Say that you’ve played “crane” and “hoist” as your Wordle starting words. You just used 10 letters total, including a number of common consonants and four out of the five vowels. Unfortunately, the only result was the E turned green.
You try “bulky” next, believing that you might be missing a U, but all you get from that is a yellow L.
Now you wonder if the E appears in the answer twice. You think of words to test that theory, and settle on using “ledge.” A second E shows up, but it’s yellow instead of green, the L is still yellow and the D and G are gray.
You now know that two E’s and at least one L are in the word. You again try to think of a word that meets this criteria and come up with “elude.”
You type “elude” into the boxes and are elated when every box turns green, signaling that you solved the puzzle with just one turn to spare.
Extra Help From Our Wordle Solver
Now that you know the Wordle rules for repeat letters, you can use the Wordle strategy above to help you survive. But, if you ever find yourself truly stumped and can’t think of a word that matches the letters you have, remember that our Wordle solver can fill in the gaps.
Type in the letter you do have (including duplicates like EE and RR) in the “Includes” box, add the letters you’ve already ruled out to the “Excludes” box and press the Search button. You can even put green letters in their correct positions if you’d like. This Wordle helper tool will give you every word that could be the answer you seek.
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.