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Learning the 2-letter Words

Steve Trussel

The 96 101 acceptable 2-letter words!

Update! OSPD4! There are now 101 acceptable 2-letter words...

with the addition of

FE       KI       OI       QI       ZA

The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary Fourth Edition (OSPD4) was published in 2005, with "4,000 new entries". Among these are five new 2-letter words, FE, KI, OI, QI, ZA, of major importance in the game. These changes should revolutionize scores, making the Q and Z much easier to play. [2/14/06]

 
OSPD3 listed 97 2-letter words, but [7/21/99] - Although the OSPD3 lists 97, Dan Brinkley, Director of Columbus Ohio Scrabble Club #494 has informed me that "DA" is no longer acceptable in tournament play, (being regarded as foreign), bringing the number down to an easy-to-remember 96! I've therefore removed "DA" from the lists below. (The "s-form" of "DE", "DES", is also no longer accepted.) TWL has replaced OSPD3 as the tournament "bible". see note at end.

There is no question but that you must know all 101 if you want to play competitive Scrabble®. Not just to use them yourself, but to recognize whether your opponent is in fact using a legal word.

The table below shows them all, along with which ones can take the addition of "-s". (It doesn't necessarily mean that it's the plural form of the word - only that adding "-s" makes a legal word.)

26 of them are in gray, as they are common words which don't have to be learned:

[am, an, as, at, ax, be, by, do, go, he, if, in, is, it, me, my, no, of, on, or, ox, so, to, up, us, we]

(However, many of these are uncommon when "-s" is added, so they'll have to be studied later. )

The 101 2-letter words

aas abs ads ae ags ahs ais als am an
ars ass at aw ax ays bas bes bis bos
bys de dos eds efs eh els ems ens ers
ess et ex fas fes gos has hes his hm
ho ids ifs ins is its jo kas kis las
lis lo mas me mis mm mos mus my na
ne nos nus ods oes of ohs oi oms ons
ops ors os ow ox oy pas pes pis qis
res sh sis sos tas tis to uh um uns
ups us uts we wos xis xu ya yes yo zas

 Added in 2nd   Added in 3rd   Added in 4th 
DA (and DEs) were removed after OSPD3
new -s forms: AGs, AHs, BEs, EDs, GOs

There are no 2-letter words with C or V.

There is a 2-letter J-word: jo sweetheart (that doesn't take an -s).

And there is an important set of 5 X-words:

ax, ex, ox, xi, xu.

It's important to remember that
xi has a plural form xis, but xu has no -s form.

There are two 2-letter K-words: ka, ki,
and both take -s: kas, kis.

It should be easy to remember the 3 new valuable words,

ki, qi and za. They all take -s:

kis, qis and zas

5 words have no consonants:

aas, ae, ais, oes, and oi (& oy ),

and 3 have no vowels:

hm, mm and ah (& bys, my )!

Organizing the "hard words" by meaning

8 high value words with J K Q X Z

jo sweetheart   (no -s!)
kas Egyptian spirit
kis the vital force in Chinese thought
qis the vital force in Chinese thought
ex -es,
-ed, -ing
to cross out
xis Greek letter
xu Vietnamese money   (no -s!)
zas pizza

7 Notes of the Musical Scale

Though DO and SO are too common to think about, they're also among the
7 common names for the notes of the scale, and they all take "-s":

dos res mis fas sos las tis

8 Letters of the English Alphabet

8 are names for letters of the English alphabet, (a f l m n r s x). (You can make a mnemonic sentence for this, like "A film lover may need really strong xrays" or something similar you can call on to help you remember.) Except for EX (which naturally requires "-es") they all take "-s":
(Thanks to Nikki Wei for adding the letter "L", (EL) to this letter list. OSPD only lists ELL with the meaning 'the letter L', using 'elevated railway' for EL, below, but OSPD only shows one meaning per word.)

A F L M N R SX
ays efs els ems ens ars ess ex

2 Mom & Pop

2 words are "mom and pop" (the third, DA. which just sounds like one, is no longer acceptable):

mas pas

18 Interjections

18 are interjections. You may not think of them as "real words", but the OSPD does. These may take a little memorizing:

ahs eh has hm mmow sh uh yo
aw ers his ho ohoioy tas um

3 of these have no vowels: HM, MM, SH.
4 end in -H: AH, EH, OH, UH.

11 are reversible: AH/HA, EH/HE, ER/RE, OH/HO, OW/WO, OY/YO, TA/AT, UM/MU
(13 if you count AA and MM)

9 Shortened Forms

abs abdominal muscleeds education
ads advertisementmos moment
ags agriculture ops op-art
bis bi-sexual els elevated railways
zaspizza   

2 Oldish English

lo interj.yesyou

5 slightly slangy

bos uns na et ya
pal one no ate you

4 names of Greek letters

musnuspisxis

2 psychological words

ids psyche partoms mantra

5 with no consonants

aas lavaae one
ais sloth oes whirlwind
oi interj. of dismay or pain  

Only these 12 hard "foreign" words to memorize

alsAsian tree bas Egyptian spirit
de fromfesHebrew letter
lisChinese measurene nee, born
odsnatural force osbone
pes Hebrew letter sisnote of scale
utsnote of scale woswoe

Looking at it this way, you ought to be able to remember the 101 2-letter words with just a few minutes practice each day for a week.

How to practice? Study these charts, take a pencil and paper and try to write out the 101 words! Keep doing it till you can.

"Guaranteed" to add an average of 50 points to your game!

Next step: learn which ones take -s!


What do these 2-letter words have in common?: AH, AL, AS, BA, BO, BY, IN, IS, IT, LA, MA, MI, MU, NA, NE answer
Note
from Steven Alexander's Scrabble FAQ:

As of March 1998, club and tournament play in North America use an unexpurgated lexicon, including all two- to nine-letter words and inflections, titled "Official Tournament and Club Word List" (but generally known as "TWL" or "TWL98"), sold only to members of NSA. Send $9.95 plus sales tax for AR, CA, MA, OH or WA, specifying membership number, to

    Merriam-Webster Inc.
    P.O. Box 281
    Springfield, MA 01102
    (800) 201-5029 x100
    (413) 734-3134 x100

    or $13.95 CAD in Canada, to

    Thomas Allen & Son, Ltd
    390 Steelcase Rd E
    Markham, ON L3R 1G2
    (905) 475-9126


What do they have in common?

AH, AL, AS, BA, BO, BY, IN, IS, IT, LA, MA, MI, MU, NA, NE

along with DO, GO, HA, ID, PE, RE, SH, WE, YE

all make 3-letter words starting with A!

RevolverMap added Nov. 9, 2009

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