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They are very important to get better at Scrabble: Hook words.

To Become Better at Scrabble: Learn Scrabble Hook Words!

created on by  in Word Board Games, Word Lists

The Scrabble board doesn’t always give you the perfect dock for a word. In those situations, hook words can help you. It isn’t just important to have the word in mind that you want to create. You need to find matching Scrabble hook words!

What Does “Hook” Mean and what is a “Hook Word”?

The hooking basically refers to a kind of “parasite” attaching to the words that are already on the board. You add one letter to an already existing word. The easiest way is, of course, to form a plural word out of a singular one. For example, the word HOOK can be extended to HOOKS. The letter S is the “hook” and the word HOOKS is being hooked, so it’s the “hook word”.

But the trick with hook words is not only to extend a word, but to use the hook word to build a second new word. In this case, my example fits to the subject hook words:

How to build a hook word in three steps.
How to build a hook word in three steps.

I chose the words HOOK and WORD. This way, you will get points for the word HOOKS plus the word WORDS. You see, hook words are very useful in Scrabble! I would like to show you a few more examples of how to use hook words.

Front and Back Hook

In the beginning you will often be looking for hooks at the end of a word, because most hook words work like this. But you should always check for any opportunity to lengthen a word at the front! For example DEAL could become DEALS, but it might also turn into IDEAL. This is called a front hook. A letter at the end of a word, of course, is called a back hook.

Here are a few more examples of hook words with front hooks:

NAKED – SNAKED
RATIFY – GRATIFY
EARN – YEARN
WADDLE – SWADDLE
INCH – FINCH

I also found a great video that introduces some very interesting Hook Words. Some of them you should keep in mind! I liked these ones:

FAR – FARD
OKAY – TOKAY
LUNG – LUNGI
NANA – JNANA
HILL – THILL

See the full video here:

One Word and a Number of Hook Words

Sometimes you can form several hook words with just one word. This works by putting your new word parallel to an existing word. Of course you need to make sure that all newly formed words are allowed. If you find such a spot, your score will look great because every single new word counts!

This way you can form several hook words with just one word.
This way you can form several hook words with just one word.

My tip: You will find lots of possibilities when you know all the two-letter words that are allowed in Scrabble. We have listed them for you in this article about words with 2 letters.

2 to 3 Hook Words

If you know the list of two-letter words I just mentioned, you may now follow step two. Try to memorize which hooks can be used on those two-letter words. As you can imagine, this will open up many more possibilities on the board. But I must admit that it will be a lot of work learning all of these words by heart. For this reason, I will show you the 2 to 3 hook words using the example of the letter Z. I often find it difficult to attach a Z on the board. So here are the Z hook words:

  • AD – ADZ
  • AG – ZAG
  • AS – ZAS
  • AX – ZAX
  • BE – BEZ
  • BI – BIZ
  • EA – ZEA
  • ED – ZED
  • EE – ZEE
  • EL – ZEL
  • EX – ZEX
  • FE – FEZ
  • HO – ZHO
  • IN – ZIN
  • IT – ZIT
  • MI – MIZ
  • MO – MOZ
  • OO – ZOO
  • OS – ZOS
  • PO – POZ
  • RE – REZ
  • SO – SOZ
  • ZA – ZAG, ZAP, ZAS, ZAX
  • ZO – AZO, DZO, ZOA, ZOL, ZOO, ZOS

 
You can find the whole 2 to 3 hook wordlist here.

The Master of Hook Words is: A Madam!

I found a very interesting Scrabble hook training session on the internet. Derek McKenzie presents it on his website. The idea is the following: Derek starts with a two-letter word and adds a front or a back hook to the word one by one. Each new word must of course be valid. The aim is to create the longest possible word this way. This word is called the “madam”.

I picked an example:

AM, AMI, AMIN, TAMIN, TAMINE, TAMINES, ETAMINES, KETAMINES

Now try to find a madam yourself! Derek has built his madams from these two-letter words. Of course, there’s more than just one possible solution for each two-letter word.

  • AI
  • AN
  • AR
  • AS
  • AT
  • DE
  • EA
  • HI
  • IN
  • IS
  • LA
  • LI
  • MI
  • MO
  • OD
  • PA
  • PI
  • TE

 
Having problems getting ahead? Then look at the solutions on Derek McKenzie’s website. You will be amazed! And after this exercise your eye will most certainly be perfectly trained to find hook words in your next game. Have fun!

 

The Best Word Games for Road Trips

You can play Derek McKenzie’s hook game anywhere! Just like the other word games for road trips that I summarized in this article: “The Best Word Games for Road Trips”

Have a look at these topics to find more related articles: Scrabble®

image sources

  • gallery_scrabble_hooks: by Tobias Linke
  • Hook_word_example: by Tobias Linke
  • hook_words: by Tobias Linke

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