A linguistics expert reveals an unconventional strategy

wordle may be a relaxing way to start your day with a little puzzle – or a fierce competition to prove you’re the smartest friend in your group text. For the latter type of player, keeping abreast of the latest wordle strategies are almost as much a part of the daily routine as the game itself. You might think that a simple word-guessing game with just five letters wouldn’t lend itself to intense strategy, but mathematicians, computer programmers, and self-proclaimed “former gifted kids” have all given advice to keep you from ever see the dreaded X/6 score again. The latest comes from a professor of linguistics, who provides counter-current advice.

A lot of wordle experts advise starting with vowel-heavy words, such as QUERY, ADIEU, or RAISE. It makes sense on the surface. Every possible word will contain at least one vowel, and probably more than that. If you can figure out the vowels early on, the thought goes, you’ll have an easier time filling in the blanks.

But according to an interview in The Independent with Lynne Murphy, head of English language and linguistics at the University of Sussex, this strategy may be upside down. Like wordle-enthusiastic computer scientists and mathematicians have explained it, a good wordle guessing is all about gathering information. If you know the correct answer contains an X, that gives you a huge amount of information, because there are so few words that include the letter. Knowing that a word contains an A doesn’t help as much; there are thousands of words that fit the bill.

Knowing which letter patterns appear the most in English can help improve your wordle score.miodrag ignjatovic/E+/Getty Images

So, says Murphy, the best way to get more information early on is to guess words with lots of high-value consonants, rather than vowels. Because there are so many more possible consonants, reducing the correct ones is much more informative than putting the vowels in place to begin with. You’re less likely to get multiple letters in the right place with a single guess this way, but the letters you type will serve as a much better guide to the solution than knowing the correct word contains an E (the most common letter in English).

If that sounds a little too vague to be helpful, Murphy’s advice doesn’t stop there. Just as consonants give you more information than vowels, some consonants are more informative than others. Murphy suggests starting with words that include voiced consonants (try saying that three times quickly). Technically, these are letters that have a “continuous resonant sound”, like W, L, R, N, and M. It’s not their resonance that makes these letters good. wordle guesses; it is the fact that they combine well with other consonants. So if your word has a T but not an R, you can quickly rule out a wide range of possible answers, like TRUNK or TRACK.

That little tweak to your first wordle guessing might be enough to tip the scales in your favor, but Murphy still has a few words of wisdom. She says people who pay attention to language patterns tend to be more successful at wordlebut warns that focusing on specific letter combinations rather than looking at the word as a whole can do more harm than good.

Remember, it’s supposed to be fun.Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Finally, what is perhaps Murphy’s most unconventional piece of advice: don’t forget to have fun. Unlike systematized approaches to wordle which suggest using the same starting word every day, Murphy likes to vary his first word each day. You might be extremely lucky and find the solution on your first guess, but more likely it will keep your daily wordle routine from becoming obsolete. Even though it sounds like a ritual, it’s just a game, after all.

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