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How Many S in Words with Friends?

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Words with Friends is a very popular word puzzle game which can bring you a lot of fun and amusement. In addition, this game has an educative note, since you can learn some new English words.

When we talk or think about Words with Friends it is inevitable that this very popular game will be compared with Scrabble. You will often read that Words with Friends is a Scrabble-like game or Scrabble clone. The fact is that these two games are very similar and both are very popular. There are, however, some differences between the two. One of them is the number of tiles with the letter S. You can see other differences here.

In this article we will answer the following questions: How many S tiles are there in Words with Friends? Why exactly are there this many S tiles? How can you use the letter S to boost your score?

How many S in Words with Friends – the short answer

For those of you who need a quick answer, here are the facts:

  • 104 tiles in Words with Friends
  • 5 tiles with an S
  • 2 blanks that might represent an S
  • s0, up to 7 S’ are possible in Words with Friends

The Number of S Tiles in Words with Friends

There are 104 tiles available during any one match of the game Words with Friends. Of those, 102 tiles are emblazoned with one of the 26 letters of the English alphabet, while two are blank. Out of the 102 tiles with letters, 5 tiles are printed with the letter S and carry one point each. Blank tiles are used to replace any of the other letters, but they do not carry any points. So if you need more S tiles during a match, you can use one or both of the blank ones. The complete distribution of the letters in Words with Friends you can see in How many letters in Words with Friends.

Why that many S tiles?

If we want to answer this question, we will have to consider the distribution of letters in English, since this game exists only for this language.

The distribution of letters in one language is actually the frequency with which letters are used for writing texts in that language. Every language has its own letter distribution, which can be figured out by analyzing a large sample from a representative text. Using computers this task is not difficult to achieve and has already been done for most of the world’s languages. Letter distributions for one language can vary slightly, depending on the actual text used in frequency analyses. The following graph represents one of the most common letter distributions in the English language:

letter distribution graph in Words with Friends

Distribution of letters plays a fundamental role for determining the number of tiles with each letter in word puzzle games such as Words with Friends. If we look once again at the graph representing the letter distribution we can see that the letter S occurs in 6% of all letters used for writing in the English language. Since there are 102 tiles with letters in Words with Friends, there should be about 6 S tiles in this game. We can therefore say that with only 5 tiles, the letter S is underrepresented in this game.

One of the possible reasons for an underrepresentation of S tiles in Words with Friends might be that there are some overrepresented letters. For example, according to this distribution there should be 0.07 Z tiles, which rounds down to no tiles at all. Since designers of the game most likely want to have at least one tile for each of the letters, this must be compensated for by reducing the number of tiles representing high frequency letters, one of which is S. After considering all of this, designers decided that there would be 5 S tiles in Words with Friends.

Let There be More S Tiles

Why is the letter S so interesting in Words with Friends? The plural form for most nouns in the English language can be made just by adding an S at the end. Effective use of the letter S in Words with Friends can therefore be a powerful strategy to boost your score. When you have a tile with the letter S, you can always choose some noun on the board and make its plural form simply by adding an S at the end. The most effective way to exploit this fact is to try and create a word with S in it and then cross that word with the noun on the board in singular adding an S at the noun’s end. Both the plural noun and the word that you have just created will be counted in your final score. For example, if there were the word RHINO on the board you could extend it to RHINOS just by adding S at the end or creating ROLES as in the featured image at the top of this post.


Don’t forget to also check out some other strategies to boost your score in Words with Friends.

Description: Letter S is a very interesting letter in Words with Friends and it can be a very powerful tool for boosting your score. How many S tiles are there in Words with Friends? What is the most effective way to use it? Answers to these and other related questions can be found here…

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image sources

  • letter distribution in Words with Friends: Owned by 1337 UGC GmbH
  • Words with Friends S: Screenshot Words with Friends by Zynga Inc

2 Responses

  1. If Words With Friends is a Game of English language why is Q I used, it is a Chinese word?

    • Hi Carolyn,
      QI is a variant of CHI and a very good friend of many word gamers who stuck with a Q without a U 🙂

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