Scrabble Rules

The basic rules of Scrabble are fairly simple. It is the details that can become a bit more complicated. The simplicity of the game traces back to its creation as a cheap Depression-era diversion. It is entirely possible to enjoy a game of Scrabble without even getting into the advanced scoring system and instead just taking pleasure in the act of creating words.

Starting Play

Start play by having each player blindly choose a tile from the box. The player who comes closest to picking the letter A then goes first. Each player then blindly chooses seven tiles to place on his rack. The first player begins by making an acceptable word of at least two letters. One of these letters must cover the star in the middle of the board. The player then counts up the score on the board and writes it down on the score pad.


Scrabble play then becomes a series of rounds in which each player builds upon that initial word. The second player has to use at least one of the letters placed by the first player. Unlike the first player, however, each successive player needs to use only one new letter from the rack to create a new word. The exception to this rule is that a player cannot simply add an S to create a plural. An S can be used to create the plural for a word going in one direction if the S is also used in the creation of a new word.


Certain squares exist on the board that provide a bonus to the overall score. It is possible double or triple the score in this way. In addition, letters that are used less commonly, such as Z and Q, score higher than more common letters, such as T and M. When you use all seven tiles on currently on your rack, it is called a Bingo and it's worth a 50 point bonus.


Around 125 acceptable two-letter words can be used in Scrabble, and tournament-level players have memorised each of them. In addition, 996 three letter words are acceptable for play. While memorising all these words is not viable for most people, it helps to learn a handful of the more oddball three letter words. There are 17 words that use a Q without a U. It is vital to understand the importance of A and S as so-called hook letters that can be added to existing words to create either new words or plurals.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Timothy Sexton's more than 10,000 articles have been published on sites ranging from USA Today to CareerAddict, from PopEater to His writing has been referenced in books ranging from "The Reckless Life...of Marlon Brando" to "Brand New China: Advertising, Media and Commercial and from Scarface Nation to Incentive!"