Wordle: How to Play, Strategies, and Tips for Starting Right and Winning Each Day
Wordle is a huge craze right now, with hundreds of thousands of people across the globe competing to guess the same five-letter word each day. With only six attempts and one round available to play every 24 hours, Wordle presents exactly the right kind of challenge to make people feel competitive. It’s easy to understand and doesn’t require anything more than a basic grasp of the English language, making it fun for all levels of players. Of course for most people, the main attraction is the colourful block diagram you get to post on your social media every day, showing how your guesses progressed and how many attempts you needed. If you’ve managed to maintain a streak over many days, you know just how tempting it is to keep going!
Here’s a quick guide to playing Wordle. We’ll go through some tips and strategies, developed after weeks of first-hand gameplay of this addictive game. This is everything you need to keep in mind to ace the game, so read on to keep your winning streak going as long as possible.
What is Wordle? How to play
Wordle is a simple word-guessing game. It’s available as a website and can be played from any computer or mobile device. There is no Wordle app, so be careful – plenty of scammers have tried launching clones in order to grab views and profit off advertising. The original Wordle website has no ads and does not try to sell you any upgrades or boosters – at least as of now – which is a huge plus point these days.
When you load the Wordle website, you’ll see a simple grid and a keyboard. You type your first five-letter word guess, and that becomes the top row of the grid. There are no hints – your first guess has to be completely random. Any letter that is in the correct space will be highlighted in green. Any letter that’s in the word but isn’t in that exact space will be highlighted in yellow. Letters that are not in the word will be greyed out.
As you play, your on-screen keyboard keys also change colours to help you narrow down guesses. It becomes easy to skip the greyed-out keys when trying to think of letter combinations that will fit around the positions you already have locked in green. The more guesses you use, the more unneeded letters you’ll eliminate and the easier the answer will be to guess from what’s left.
There’s no way to undo a turn in Wordle and no second chance. You can of course play the day’s round again on another device, but that will set up a new streak (or you could first try guessing on a separate device, then feed in the correct answer on your primary one to keep a streak going artificially). There is currently no way to sync devices, so if you wipe out your history or don’t always have access to the same PC or phone, your Wordle streak will be interrupted.
Wordle: Best starting words
First of all, start with a guess that uses the most commonly used letters in the English language: by most accounts these are E, A, T, R, S, I, O, and N. The least common are usually Q, Z, J, X, and V. Don’t start with words that repeat letters – it’s more valuable to eliminate common letters. For example, “stare” is a better guess than “start” since it leaves less ambiguity once the game reveals which letters are in and which are out.
Eliminating more vowels early on will help drastically narrow down the possible Wordle answer. Once you have one or two letters locked in place, you’ll be able to tell where vowels fall, which helps guess which other letters work around what you already have. If you eliminate U, there’s almost zero chance of a Q being anywhere in your word.
It could also be helpful to consider which letters are more commonly used at different positions in a five-letter word. It’s unlikely for a five-letter word to end with the letters I or U, for example, but S and E are extremely likely to be in the last spot. Consider common endings such as -ED, -ER, and -ING. If you have a yellow letter, consider how many words can be made with that letter in each of your available slots. If you have a consonant locked in the second space and a vowel in the third, you’ll probably have a combination such as ST, PR, GR, FL, etc. If any of those letters have already been eliminated, subsequent guesses will be more likely to be correct.
My first failure. Caught out by use of US English spelling on an UK domain. Dirty Pool Wordle ????????
Wordle 207 X/6
— Mᴀᴛᴛ Bᴇᴀʀᴜᴘ (@interestingmix) January 11, 2022
Wordle: Strategies to optimise guesses
If a letter is marked yellow after a Wordle turn, it cannot be in the same position in any subsequent guess. It also cannot be in any position that has already turned green. This means you don’t have to consider trying all four remaining slots for a yellow letter – the correct position is often easy to figure out.
It helps to actually type out words you’re considering so you can see how each letter placement fits in with the information you already have. However, before hitting ‘Enter’ to confirm a guess, always double-check to make sure you aren’t repeating a mistake. Don’t throw away attempts on words that have a letter you’ve already eliminated, or letters in a position that they cannot be in. It can be tempting to try a word with lots of common letters just to see if the rest of them work, but that’s a waste of an attempt – just think a little harder to find a word that can fit within the rules you have already narrowed down.
Wordle: Essential tips to remember
Do keep in mind that Wordle uses American English spellings, so some words that you might not even consider, such as “favor”, “color”, etc, are in fact possible matches. This exact issue caused a social media furore in early January – many players around the world were not used to thinking of such spellings. These aren’t even five-letter words when spelled correctly, by our standards!
As you progress through your Wordle guesses, don’t forget to consider words with repeated letters. You might be searching for usable combinations of letters within the unused ones on your keyboard, but the grid won’t tell you whether a letter that’s green in one spot is also a potential yellow. Some letters are often doubled: SS, NN, MM, TT, etc, but the possibilities are limited within five-letter words.
Don’t get too caught up with rhyming patterns. For example, if you have -ING locked in as the last three letters of your word, you will be tempted to keep using guesses such as “fling”, “thing”, and “sting”. However, “going” and “doing” are also potential matches.
If you do find yourself stuck, many websites offer hints or even publish the answer each day. Stay away from these search results if you hate spoilers! This is also a good reason not to feel too bad when seeing other people post about their huge streaks or lucky wins – you can never be certain that they didn’t have help. As with social media in general, not everything is always as it seems. Wordle can be competitive, but remember to just have fun each day!