Games are a form of entertainment and have been since language itself emerged. It’s said that humans are so fond of engaging in play that those first to develop speech were also the first to make up games using those words. Word games evolved through the ages and they became challenges that tested a person’s language skill or ability.
In the 1800s the crossword hit the scene and immediately became hugely popular as it required both general knowledge and a good vocabulary. In 1931 a New York architect called Alfred Mosher Butts developed the game we all know and love as “scrabble”. It went through a few names before settling on this, such as “Lexico” and “Criss-cross words”. Now people do anything they can to get a leg up on the competition and improve their sharp minds and quick-draw vocabularies. But is there anything you can do to improve your game?
Use Anagram Solvers
If you were to enter a competition and proceed to bring out a laptop with an anagram solver loaded up on your internet browser then you’re more than likely going to be disqualified. It is, however, one of the best ways to expand your vocabulary when you’re practicing. Nothing is stopping you using all the tools at your disposal when you’re in a practice session. Using a word finder for scrabble will allow you to effortlessly discover words you may never have previously thought of and store them in your long term memory. This way, you will be fully equipped next time you’re in for a battle of words.
Utilize The Dictionary
When was the last time you picked up a dictionary and have a look at it? Maybe when you were at school? Maybe not even then? The development of technology has meant we have little need for a physical dictionary because they’re available in everything we use. Our phones, our computers, even our smart gadgets have spell check. Despite this, a physical dictionary is still a better tool for learning words.
Flick to the page you need to start your word with and behold hundreds of words (in most cases) starting with the letter you require. Learn them and use them. The English language has many bizarre spellings and derivatives of words, learning these will give you the upper hand.
Subscriptions Offer Something Different
Often when you’re trying to expand your vocabulary and learn new words it can be difficult to find anything interesting straight away. That’s when these “word a day subscriptions” come into play. Sign up using your email and receive a new and exciting word every day of the week, every month of the year. They usually come with everything you need to know about it, making it much easier to remember. The origins of the word, the explanation, the derivation, and how to use it in a sentence.
Q Doesn’t Always Go With U
The English language has many different grammatical rules that need to be adhered to in order for it to make sense. One of the earliest rules we learn is that if there is a word with the letter “Q” in it, there’s more often than not going to be a letter “U” right after it. Whilst this is true 98% of the time, there are a few examples that will prove this wrong. It’s good to learn a fair few of these words as “Q” is a high scoring letter, but there are only 4 “U” tiles in the bag meaning if they’re all on the board and inaccessible, your chance of an extra 10 points has flown out the window.
Learn The 2 Letter Champions
There are some situations where you’re stuck with a load of letters you have no idea what to do with. Even those with impressive vocabularies have this issue. Instead of surrendering to changing some letters from the bag, there is a get out of jail card. There are 107 two-letter words in the English language that are accepted in the game of scrabble and some of them include high scoring opportunities. Qi is even in there, so there’s one less “Q without a U” word you have to learn, and one less 2 letter champions.
Word games are designed to test us but they’re also meant to be fun. If you don’t find them all that great to play then you don’t have too. But if you want to get better at them to compete with your friends then use some of these tips. Get to know the letters that frequently come up in spelling and start reading some more. You’ll be a pro in no time.