If you haven’t heard of it – how? – The rules are simple. Every day there is a new five-letter word (Wordle). You can try to guess it six times, and after each guess the color of the tile changes to tell you if the letter is in the word and in the right place (green), in the word but not in the right place (yellow), or not word in (grey.)
These limitations make Wordle so much fun. Everyone in the world (especially in my house) tries to guess the same word with the least amount of times. Cleverly, you can share your progress after success – but all the letters are disguised as colored blocks. So you can gloat and not give up anything.
But never say there’s a game you can’t beat (or, according to my girlfriend, ruined) with a little research, analysis, and time. So if you’re wondering what the best strategy is to win in Wordle, let’s break it down.
English alphabet distribution
Letter frequency analysis is the study of how often and where letters appear in words. It’s the foundation of cryptography because if you have to decode a secret message like we did in Wordle, it’s useful to know that you’re more likely to see E instead of Q.
While the exact letter frequency distribution varies depending on the source text, the most common letters don’t really change.
Peter Norvig, head of research at Google, Use data from Google Books List the 12 most common letters in English:
- E (12.49% of words)
- T (9.28%)
- One (8.04%)
- O (7.64%)
- Me (7.57%)
- Nitrogen (7.23%)
- Small (6.51%)
- R (6.28%)
- H (5.05%)
- L (4.07%)
- D (3.82%)
- C (3.34%)
However, this list has a problem for us Wordlers.It is based on natural language source text, which means words This Kind of screwed us up. This is by far the most common word in the English language, accounting for 7.14% of all words in Google Books source text, followed by of (4.16%), and (3.04%), and arrive (2.6%). This means that T and H are higher in the list than they should be.
Another option is to just look at the distribution of letters in dictionary words. analysis Concise Oxford Dictionary (9th edition, 1995) found that the 12 most common letters were: