Updated: January 11, 2022 11:17:49 am
Wordle has been taking over Twitter and the green and yellow-coloured boxes have already started to appear everywhere. This new game that tests your vocabulary is relatively simple, challenging, and also competitive thanks to its social nature.
We have already covered what Wordle is about, how to play it, and some other basics that you can check out here. But even with these instructions at hand, you may struggle to guess the right five-letter word in the given chances, of which you have six in total.
Today, we’ll look at a few tips and tricks to help you better strategize your efforts and get to the right word in the least number of chances.
We will also be using the Wordle from January 6, 2022 as an example.
Most people will throw in a random word in the very first guess, and take the subsequent green, yellow and grey combination to guess number two and so on. However, this means you will put to waste one of the six chances you have, and what is in my opinion, the most important one.
For the first guess, try to pick a word that has a lot of vowels, or maybe a couple of common vowels along with some frequently used consonants. Avoid words that involve letters like ‘X’, ‘Q’ and ‘Z’ in your first guess. These could be green letters for the word of the day, but remember that the point of your first chance is to narrow your search down. For that very reason, also avoid words with repeating letters for your first guess.
Today, I went ahead with ‘TABLE’ for my first guess. This is a great word as it has both ‘A’ and ‘E’, very commonly used vowels. As you can see below, I immediately get one green and two yellow squares.
Here’s where your contextual strategy game comes in. Use the colour codes from your first guess to gauge what the word could be. Remember that you must always use green letters from a previous chance in the same position and yellow letters from the previous chance in a new position.
Never use greyed-out letters again. You’d just be wasting a chance. Use the in-game keyboard to your advantage as it will mark greyed-out letters. Image these letters have been plucked from your keyboard and you cannot use them anymore.
While you’re at it, try to identify patterns that commonly used words have. For instance, a ‘Q’ will almost always be followed by a ‘U’ in English, and ‘E’ and ‘A’ will usually be in the ‘EA’ order instead of the ‘AE’ order (there could always be exceptions).
For yellow letters, don’t randomly place them in a new spot but try to put them in spots where they are commonly found. For instance, letters like ‘Z’ are usually unlikely to be in the last spot, but letters like ‘E’ and ‘Y’ are common last letters.
Coming back to today’s game, I will now look for words with ‘A’ in the second spot, and ‘B’ and ‘L’ somewhere in there. However, I know that ‘B’ and ‘L’ are unlikely to finish the word together in that order. Instead, I will choose ‘B’ to be the first letter, and put ‘L’, say in spot-3 to guess for ‘BALDY’, again, not using any grey letters from chance one.
Chance three onward you will pretty much apply your knowledge of vocabulary patterns as you did in the second guess to get more green letters and eventually, the right word.
However, you will also now use what I like to call the elimination method, a common trick often used in Sudoku puzzles. Note that by chance three or four, you may have some yellow letters being yellow in multiple chances. Hence, we can eliminate these possibilities to now put these letters in the only one or two spots left for them.
If there are more blank spots left, again, use strategic vocabulary to determine where that yellow letter could go next.
Coming back to today’s word, you now see that we have ‘B’ in the beginning and ‘A’ right next to it. However, since ‘L’ has been yellow in two of the three remaining spots across the first two chances, you now know that it will occupy the last spot, making ‘L’ the last letter of the word, effectively a given green letter in the next chance.
This gives you only two more letters to guess, because the rest of the word is already taking shape as ‘BA__L’.
While I am tempted to try for ‘BAGEL’, I mustn’t forget that ‘E’ is already a greyed-out letter. Instead, I will look for letters that I still haven’t used, ones that make sense. Let’s try BASIL.
If you still haven’t guessed the right word, use the remaining three chances purely for strategic elimination, while keeping in mind the rules mentioned above in case of new green and yellow letters.
As you can see from my guess, ‘S’ and ‘I’ are both grey, but ‘L’ is green just like we expected.
This is a good time to see if you may have some letters appearing twice in the word. Unfortunately, Wordle doesn’t colour code letters that appear twice so this is going to be completely manual.
Since no more new letter appears to fit in, I will now try repeating letters. I will start with ‘A’, as vowels are often found twice in the same word. Hence, my next guess will be ‘BANAL’, where I am repeating the letter ‘A’ and also adding ‘N’, an unused letter so far.
As you see above, I guessed the right word with minimal effort, and minimal random guesses, which got me to the right word with two chances to spare!
Fifth and sixth chances
If you still haven’t arrived at the right word, continue using the steps we tried so far from Guess 2 to Guess 4 and you should make it to the right word in the last two chances.
BONUS: A simple tip to remember is that since Wordle changes the word each day, words of the day from recent history are unlikely to appear again. While this may seem like a small pointer, it can be more useful than you think.
For instance, if the correct words of the last two three days were ‘Tiger’, ‘Tapir’ and ‘Fable’, it would be unwise of me to use those words in any of today’s six guesses.
There you go! Now that you know the tricks of the trade, all you need is a little practice and you’ll be a Wordle pro in no time. Happy Wordling!