Tuesday, March 8, 2011

H is for HOOKS!

It's time again for the ABC Wednesday entry, where I try and cover some of the basics of competitive scrabble, while somehow trying to relate it to the current letter of the week. Up this week: G!


We've already gone over 'fishing', which is a generally bad practice, however 'hooks' are definitely good to know. A 'hook letter', or 'hook', is a letter that will spell a new word when it is played with in the front of or at the end of a word already on the board. The most commonly used hook is S, of course, which is usually added to the end of a word. For this reason, most people will hold on to an S until it can be used to score a decent amount of points.

Knowing hooks can make the difference between having a place to put that great word or having it just sit on your rack. It can also gain you a turn if your opponent tries one that isn't good. (In competitive scrabble, you lose your turn if your opponent 'challenges' your play and the word isn't acceptable.) This most famously occurs in competitive games with -ING words; it's often difficult to remember which ones take an S and which don't. Adjectives are another culprit of the attempted S additions. More on that later...

The fun part, though, is learning some of the more unusual hooks (usually 'front hooks' that completely change the word when added to the beginning) and then surprising your opponent with them. Here's just a few words that you can add an S to the front of that you may not know about:



just to name a few. 

To end, here's a quiz: which of these words take a S back hook in scrabble?







Answers in the comment section...

Of course, I haven't even touched on all the words you can add 'Y', 'D', or 'R'  to, as well as the many other aspects, but you get the idea. When you see a word on the board, the first thing you should think is, 'what letter can I add to the front of back of that?'


scrabblepodcast said...

All of the words except FEEDING take an 'S'. I chose feeding because it's a common complaint among competitive players (especially parents) that it's the case. Maybe in the next dictionary...

WEIRDS is a verb. OUTER is part of a target. PARKING is a noun, and sharp readers will have noticed that you can put an S in the front, too. STRANGE is defined as 'a fundamental quark', whatever that is. SURFING is also a noun, and generally any sport-like activity takes an S on the end (i.e. BOATING, CYCLING, etc).

Leslie: said...

Well, I know that only the word "feeding" can take an "s" changing it from a gerund to a noun. This was fascinating and I really enjoyed it.

Roger Owen Green said...

What? 'Feedings' is illegit?

Something I got from my first graders' homework re ING just this week; generally, when the vowel is short, the consonent is doubled - trimming, e.g., but when it's long, it's not, e.g., feeding.

helenmac said...

Very interesting post -- thank you for the scrabble tips! Funny about the s and feeling -- we see this used all the time:

Amount of Formula Feedings
Question of the Week
By Vincent Iannelli, M.D., About.com Guide
Updated October 31, 2007

HelenMac, ABC Wednesday TEam

Joy said...

Hook, mmm so I'm wondering if there is a word for when you hook and then move on down for a word. Is it snake or a slide, guess I'll wait and see.

chubskulit said...

Nice take on the theme!

Come and see my letter H, have a nice day.

Tumblewords: said...

Hoping this helps me! Excellent theme...