Strategy and Tips -- Finding Words with Common Letter Groups

You can memorize the 2-letter words with reasonable effort. You can even learn most of the 3-letter words, and some of the necessary longer words (see O'Laughlin Words). But at a certain point, you are simply not going to memorize every word in the dictionary, unless you are literally gunning for something like a U.S. championship in Scrabble®.

So, that being said, what is a good way to look for longer words that may be hiding on your rack? At first glance, something like GEILRSN might look like a mess. However, there are certain groupings of letters which show up over and over again in long words. Once you are aware of them, you can look for your best word in a much more organized fashion.

3-Letter Word Fragments

Let's focus on here on 3-letter fragments. Longer fragments than that do not occur commonly enough to be useful. Shorter fragments have the opposite problem. When looking at 3-letter fragments, there are certain combinations which appear in long words way more often than average.

An obvious one is ING. As the present participle of a huge number of verbs, it shows up in numerous 7-letter words. BASKING, PLAYING, READING, DUELING, WORKING, etc. etc. etc. If you notice that you can make ING from your rack, you are off to a great start.

Another common and useful fragment is ERS. Many plural nouns take this ending. WALKERS, PLAYERS, DANCERS, SINGERS, TOILERS, etc. etc. etc. If you can find ERS on your rack, then it is often a simple matter of finding a 4-letter verb with your other letters.

So what are the most common 3-letter fragments. If you start with the top 20, you will already have the building blocks for thousands of 7 and 8-letter words. We have a longer list here, but the short answer is also below:


An Example

So, going back to GEILRSN, which of these fragments can we find? And do they help us find 7-letter words?

Of these top 20 fragments, we have ING, ERS, IES, LES, LIN, INE, RES, and LER. Without going into every one of them specifically, let's start with ING. That leaves with with ELRS in the rest of our rack. We might see a word like SINGER or RINGS almost immediately, but eventually, we would hopefully see LINGERS.

This word actually uses multiple fragments from our list -- ING and ERS. Group these two together, and you would see L-ING-ERS. Or you could start with LIN and ERS and see LIN-G-ERS. This is just one example, but if you learn the list of important 3-letter fragments, you can hopefully improve your search process and find more of the long words which are essential to winning at Words With Friends®.

P.S., Bonus points if you also saw SLINGER in this set of letters.


By looking for the most fruitful letter combinations first, you can often find words that might have otherwise not revealed themselves. At the very least, you can make your search process more efficient.

Continue to our next section to read about 7-letter words, and how to maximize your chances of drawing one. Or click on any of our articles below.

The words in our dictionary are meant to match, as closely as possible, the words used in Words With Friends®. We have no affiliation with Words With Friends, and offer this site for entertainment purposes only.