Perhaps one of the best-known little secrets is that word games really do help improve your spelling and vocabulary. And what better way to do that other than playing the timeless board game of Scrabble. Out of all word-related games, Scrabble has a long history, originally called Criss Cross and based on the crossword puzzle and anagrams developed by architect Alfred M. Butts in 1931. It was redesigned, renamed as Scrabble, and reintroduced by James Brunot in 1948. It was first sold in Great Britain in 1954, and since 1973, Scrabble tournaments have been held.
How to play
The basic idea is simple enough. You’re given 7 random tiles, each tile with a letter on it and the goal is to make a word from those tiles onto the board. You replenish tiles after you use them. So, if you make a 5-letter word, you replenish 5 new tiles, 3-letters, 3 new tiles, and so on. There are 100 lettered tiles and each letter has a point value; letters least used, like Q or Z have higher points. Words are scored by adding up the point values of their letters, multiplied by any of the 61 squares on the board that may be covered, such as double letter, triple letter, double word, and triple word.
How it helps your vocabulary
There are different ways to help expand your vocabulary, like reading. The more you read, the new words you’re exposed to. Or you can subscribe to sites that will send you a word a day. While these ways are always helpful, they’re only helpful as long as you keep a dictionary handy to actually look up the meaning of a word you don’t understand. Playing word games like Scrabble would usually be the most fun way to learn new words and is also on the list for how to broaden your vocabulary.
Since it’s a game, there’s a sense of competition. You want to get a high score and you want to use those least used letters to win. For a competitive person, a challenge is always a great motivator! After all, learning many words is practically the only way to win at Scrabble.
There is a dictionary devoted to Scrabble players. The Scrabble dictionary has around a quarter of a million words in it! So how does one go about becoming familiar with these words? Individuals who want to start learning more words can start with less used letters of high value, like the letter J for example. Start by compiling a list of words beginning with J and categorize them accordingly. This means to first compile a list of words starting with J, X, Q, Z, etc. Then, you will need to group them into smaller lists such as 2 and 3-letter words that start with J or any other the other high-value tiles. Making small lists makes learning the words much easier.
To improve your score and get better at learning words, you’ll need more than the Scrabble dictionary; you can’t look up a word if you don’t know it. This is when you’ll want to start using third-party tools to help you unscramble those letters. Scrabble enthusiasts at UnscrambleX.com says it’s not cheating to use a dictionary while playing, an unscrambler is no different and it even helps you discover new words. This will help you against players who use automated robots or a word generator to comb limited dictionaries and word lists to form words that only a handful of ultra-skilled Scrabble players are ever able to come up with. This tool works for actual or virtual Scrabble by unscrambling letters to come up with a list of words. It’s going to be especially useful when playing a timed version of Scrabble, where you only have a limited time to come up with a word.
Word usage sample
The best way to remember new words is to put them into context. It’s never enough just to have a list of words when you don’t remember what they mean or how to use them. When you use them in written out sentences, you’ll remember them easier. Also remember that when playing, you can ask players what the word they used means.
Improving and expanding vocabulary is a challenge and not everyone has the perseverance and dedication for it. To make it feel a lot less like studying and more entertaining, try a good old game of Scrabble online or with a friend. It won’t just do wonders for your vocabulary, but it’s also a constructive way to spend your free time.