Whether you’re playing a game of Scrabble or trying to figure out what those kids are saying, chances are you’ll be dealing with an uncoded word at some point. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand how to do this properly. Deciphering the letters in a word or phrase can be tricky, especially if you’re just looking at those letters with no other context. The solution lies in understanding how language works and how decoding works specifically within the context of language. Hopefully, when you’re done reading this article and looking at the examples, you’ll never have trouble deciphering any more words!
As a last resort, you can use apps that decipher letters into words, but where’s the fun in that?
So here’s what to look out for, let’s dive in!
Recognize word fragments and smaller words
One of the methods you can use to better understand word decipherment is to learn how to recognize word fragments and smaller words to build on.
For example: Let’s look at ULNHAGLIA. At first it seems like a clumsy sentence, but it does contain a few word fragments that we can use to build a good word. Especially letter combinations like “HA” and “LI”
It’s a good way to use these snippets as a starting block for a word, and in this case we get:
The general rule of thumb would be to watch out for common prefixes and suffixes.
You can find popular English prefixes and suffixes with a little research and a little help from a reliable dictionary.
So why would you do this? Statistically, removing characters associated with a prefix or suffix from the stack can reduce the number of possibilities for sorting the remaining characters. This is known as permutations (all possible arrangements) in mathematics. There are many more ways to arrange six letters in unique sequences than there are four. You can even remove some characters by grouping them into prefixes or suffixes so that words are easier to decipher in your head. The remaining letters can then be played and eliminated until you find the sequence that will unravel the word. If you can manage to find a correct suffix or prefix, delete it and see what you can come up with.
In addition to helping you decipher words, understanding roots also expands your vocabulary. For example, even if you don’t know what a particular word means, if you understand the roots of the word, the prefixes and suffixes it contains, and its grammatical structure, you may still be able to make an educated guess as to its meaning. If you’re still struggling, don’t despair, there are word decrypters that will help you decipher words in no time.
Search for vowels and consonants
The vowels of the word can also form a frame for other letters. Why are vowels useful? Each syllable must contain at least one, and the remaining letters often fall in familiar patterns. In addition to the usual suspects (A, E, I, O, U), most English words and syllables (major parts of words) consist of vowels with consonants on one or both sides. Therefore, if there are few vowels or fewer vowels than consonants, there are very few ways to combine words. Put some consonants in the template, put the vowels in the middle and try to move the letters.
You will also start to see some common patterns. For example, “consonant-vowel – consonant-vowel”, as this combination makes up a large case of four-letter words in the English language.
The letter S has two functions, so it’s a bit tricky. Whenever we see an S, we can use it to form a syllable within the word that forms it, or add it to the end of the last word to make it plural. This is one of the reasons why the letter S is usually the most useful letter in Scrabble.
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_. When building the rest of the word, the first letter we write is A (before V, the most logical way to preserve a word’s consonants): _AVE_. Test the rest by placing them in the remaining two spaces. By swapping the letters we finally get WAVES, a word we know.
Another trick we can use to construct words is to place one of the word’s vowels in the 2nd position of the uncoded word and test other consonants around it.
If you find yourself running out of mental energy and don’t want to mess up your mojo, here’s a short list of fun and useful apps for your Android that you can use to increase your scramble problem skills.
A common theme in all these tips and tricks is to use your knowledge of the English language to simplify the problem and reduce the number of ways to decipher the words.
We can achieve this by:
Spot the following letter pattern.
Sort strings you already know. If the characters are less, you are more likely to see a pattern that you can use to guess the password.
In general, the most important point is to try and have fun, so if you feel like you’re burning out, take a moment to relax or try something else. If you’re looking for some versatility, check out these 10 great word games to help you maintain your brain energy bar.
We hope you find this article helpful and can use this insight when you find yourself stuck in a word maze and want to get out of it.