More words start with ‘S’ than any other letter, and other Wordle tips

More words start with ‘S’ than any other letter, and other Wordle tips

If, like so many others, you have been sucked into this world-conquering word game, you may be interested to know that you can use letter frequency to beat Wordle.

If you count all the words in the English Dictionary you will find that more words begin with ‘S‘ than any other letter. If you would like to verify this for yourself, you can get the script here.

The second, third and fourth most common starting letters for words in the dictionary are ‘p‘, ‘c‘ and ‘a‘.

In an analysis of a wide range of texts, the most common starting letter is ‘t‘. This is probably because words like ‘the’ are often repeated as it is the most common word.

Most common letter

The most common letter is ‘e‘. It has a letter frequency of 13% in texts and 11% in English dictionaries.

Least common letter

In texts, the least common letter is ‘z‘, with a frequency of 0.074%, but in dictionaries it is ‘J’ (0.021%).

Least common vowel in a five letter word

There are approximately 15,000 five letter words in the English language (only 4.3% of total words), and only 46 have ‘y‘ as a vowel.

You can use letter frequency to detect language

You can analyse texts for letter frequency and work out the language it is written in, without knowing a single word of that language. For example in English the letter ‘z‘ has a frequency of 0.074%, but in Polish it is 5.64%.

So as long as you know the letter frequencies, you can count the letters of a text and work out the language!

You can use letter frequency to detect forgeries

But this is not true just of each language. Everyone speaks and writes differently and so has their own unique letter frequency. For example, J K Rowling’s books will have a different letter frequency from Roald Dahl’s. Incidentally, both of these will have more ‘h‘ than normal as they are both general fiction and general fiction has a higher frequency of ‘h’s than general texts. So if someone tried to pass their story as J K Rowling, you could use letter frequency analysis to detect the forgery!

So how can understanding letter frequency make me better at Wordle?

If you want to succeed in Wordle, remember S, P, A and C are the most common starting letters.

Make sure you use the most common letters in English dictionaries:
e, s, i, a, r (don’t bother with ‘o‘ and ‘u‘ as they only occur 6.1% and 3.3% of the time respectively).

E.g. A good starting word would be ‘RAISE‘.

Enter your letters order of highest frequency: (e.g. if RAISE scores all greys you could try ‘COUNT’ on your second word)

LetterFrequency
E11%
S8.70%
I8.20%
A7.80%
R7.30%
N7.20%
T6.70%
O6.10%
L5.30%
C4%
D3.80%
U3.30%
G3%
P2.80%
M2.70%
K2.50%
H2.30%
B2%
Y1.60%
F1.40%
V1%
W0.91%
Z0.44%
X0.27%
Q0.24%
J0.21%
Letter frequency of words in English Dictionaries

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_frequency

https://www.nytimes.com/games/wordle/index.html

https://www.thewordfinder.com/anagram-solver/

https://towardsdatascience.com/a-frequency-analysis-on-wordle-9c5778283363

https://artofproblemsolving.com/news/articles/the-math-of-winning-wordle#:~:text=The%20last%20letter%20is%20the,set%20of%20five%2Dletter%20words.