Hangman, the classic word game with unexpected twists and high stakes, is one of our favorites.
You can play it anywhere as long as you have a pencil and some paper—or even a foggy window and your finger. You can even play the fun monster-themed version on our site. Hangman is a game you can play over and over with unlimited variations.
But what if just playing isn't enough? What if you want to win?
We'll walk you through some wisdom for the best Hangman strategy in the game. Try it out a few times and watch the amazing difference it makes.
Be Smart About Your Hangman Phrases
If you've heard any advice about Hangman phrases and strategy in the past, you might've heard people tell you to start with the most frequent letters in the English language. This advice is pretty good in general, but the truth is that it isn't exactly what you want.
The most common letters in English words can be a great starting point, but how often does each word actually show up in daily use? Rather than the most common letters in a dictionary, you should think about the most common letters in a book or article.
Pay Attention to Vowels
Pretty much every word you'll see in Hangman will have at least one vowel letter (even if that letter is "y"). So when you don't know what to guess, a vowel is a pretty good place to start.
And among all the vowel letters, the most common one is "e." When in doubt, "e" is a solid guess.
Take Advantage of Short Words
If you're using Hangman phrases rather than single words, you will likely see at least one short word. This word could be one, two, or three letters long.
For those out there who love putting together long words, games like word detector might be more your style. But if you're good with short words, you're on your way to an excellent strategy for Hangman.
When a word is short, there are limits to what it could be. For example, a one-letter word would have to be "I" or "a."
And you might guess "i" or "o" for two-letter words. Think "in," "on," "of," "or," "to," "if," "is," and "it."
Three-letter words have more possibilities, but try an "a" or "n" to see whether the word could be "and." Or maybe an "e" or "t" for "the." These are both common words you'll find in phrases.
Knowing the most common words used in a game of Hangman can keep you at an advantage as well. Keep your eyes open for tricky words with similar letters that can throw you off. For example, words like “cat,” “bat,” and “sat” only have one letter difference - so choose wisely!
Guess the Verb Endings
Verb endings can be great clues for words in Hangman.
If you see an "i" followed by two letters at the end of a word, you might want to guess an "n" to see if the word ends in "-ing." And if the second-to-last letter is an "e," you just might have found a verb ending in "-ed."
Discovering these endings is great because you'll have at least a couple of safe letters to guess, keeping your opponent from adding more limbs to your Hangman. And word endings will also come in handy for other games, like word search and crosswords.
Go Out There and Win!
Hangman is a game of strategy, cleverness, and luck. And more than anything, it's just a lot of fun. So go implement these Hangman phrases and strategies the next time your friend (or a computer) challenges you to a fun game of Hangman.
For similar games to Hangman, check out our collection of word games!