How to Unscramble Anagrams – Some Key Tips
Anagrams and word scrambles are a great brain teaser that everyone can enjoy. As the scrambled words get longer, it gets more and more difficult to figure out the what the scrambled word is. This article is a collection of tips and tricks to help you solve anagram puzzles more easily.
The key to a good anagram is in scrambling the letters of the word so that key sounds in the word are obscured. For example the word “LAUNDRY” has a prominent “AU” sound in the middle of the word which when realized leaves the rest of the anagram relatively easy to solve. A key to solving anagrams is in breaking the word up into common prefixes, suffixes and letter combinations.
Common word prefixes (letter combinations which start a word) are those such as “RE”, “UN”, “DE”, “IN”, “AB”, “AD”, “EX”. If you separate these from the rest of the letters you will be left with a much smaller word to unscramble. Similarly you can pick out suffixes (word endings) such as “ING”, “ISM”, “ED”, “ER”, “RY”, “OUS”. If you write out the word you’re trying to unscramble and separate out these common prefixes and suffixes you have a much better chance of deciphering the smaller word that remains. A clever anagram creator will try to avoid words which have these sorts of patterns for their harder puzzles. Over time you can gauge the types of words an individual anagram creator will use.
Another technique is to eliminate letter combinations that are very unlikely. Do you remember your old grammar rules from school such as “I before E, except after C”? Eliminating unlikely combinations – letters that rarely if ever appear next to one another in a word will yield good results. Letters such as ‘S’ and ‘Y’ are more frequently choices for the start or end of a word, so it’s worth trying them there first. Discard these unusual word patterns and you should find you’re left with useful ones.
If the anagram is based around a theme try to write out as many words as you can associate with the theme. For example, if the theme was “trains” you might list “track”, “rail”, “carriage” etc. Trying to apply these synonyms to the list will yield results. If the anagram is still too tough for you, as a last resort it is possible to try online word unscramble programs, which will give you the answer.