Skip to Content

Scrabble Rules 

Sharing is caring!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Scrabble is a word-based game generally played between two or four players who score points by placing letters on a specialized board. Scrabble rules vary depending on the nature of the game as some house rules vary from tournament style gameplay.

Game Setup

The game is commonly played between two and four players, but can also be played alone. A game board with 15 by 15 grid squares is required, 100 tiles (98 tiles with alphabetic letters and two blank tiles), a letter bag, and tile racks.

Before the game starts, all players should agree on which dictionary to use if a dispute arises. All words considered part of speech are legal, apart from abbreviations, words that are always capitalized, words that require a hyphen or apostrophe, prefixes, and suffixes that don’t stand alone.

Before the game begins, players draw tiles to determine who starts the round. The player who picks a blank tile gets to start first, and if there is a tie, the two players must retake the draw until a winner is determined.

Afterwards, the tiles are returned to the bag and shuffled before being issued to the players. Each person gets seven tiles for their rack.


According to scrabble rules, the first player starts their turn by placing their first word at the center square of the board, on a premium square that is worth a double score.

The play sequence must move clockwise once the first player takes their turn. Words in scrabble boards can only be played vertically or horizontally but not diagonally.

A player has three options during their turn: to pass, exchange tiles, or play a word. If they decide to pass or exchange tiles, they earn zero points in that turn. 

Exchanging tiles is only allowed if there are 7 or more tiles in the bag. If a player passes twice at the end of the game, then the game ends because there are no more moves available. 

A player can place letters in either a vertical or horizontal direction to form a word during their turn. The letters placed should form a complete words and are found in the dictionary or approved word finder.

If a word is played, there should be no doubt that the other players can challenge it.

When a player runs out of tiles and has no more tiles left to collect from the grab bag, the game is over, and the player with the highest score wins the game.

What are the basic rules of scrabble?

According to official rules, Scrabble gameplay is classified into three categories:

  • How to play a word 
  • How to score 
  • Drawing tiles after playing a word.

How to play a word 

  • A word can only be played vertically or horizontally and not diagonally. The first word formed must be placed at the center square of the board, earning double points.
  • Any word played must be found in the dictionary agreed upon at the beginning of the game. Players can always dispute if there is any doubt on the word played.
  • All words acceptable on the scrabble game must be part of speech, including words from the foreign language adopted in the English language, slang words, and obsolete. However, words that cause ethical or tribal biasness, words that require apostrophe or hyphens, prefixes, and suffixes are not allowed in the game. 
  • A player who plays a word wrongly and is found guilty, earns zero points and loses their turn.
  • The dictionary should only be consulted when solving a dispute, but not before playing a word because that is cheating.


  • One player becomes the scorekeeper who double-checks the score of every word formed on the board.
  • Each tile is worth the value of the alphabet assigned on the tile unless it’s on a Premium square, which counts as double or triple score.
  • If a player manages to play all seven tiles at once, they get “bingo,” which is worth an additional 50 points on top of the points earned from the word formed.
  • The player who has the highest score wins the game according to scrabble rules end game.

Replacement of tiles 

  • Once a player forms a word, they should replace the used tiles with an equal number of tiles from the bag, unless there are no tiles left.
  • The first player to use all their seven tile runs out of tiles, and the scrabble game is over. They earn all the points from the remaining tiles on their opponent racks.

Can you make two words in Scrabble?

Yes, a player can form two or more words in a single turn, and both words score on the player’s tally. The key is to find words that are parallel to the existing word. 

However, all the letters should be part of one word, and the word must follow the same direction. That means the two words formed should not be disconnected. 

A player can always hook or extend other existing words on the board provided the words are allowed in Scrabble. Otherwise, the risk of losing a turn is very high in a challenge.

What is not allowed in scrabble?

  • According to official rules, any word that requires a hyphen such as open-minded or an apostrophe such as “can’t,” cannot be used in the game. 
  • Additionaly, any word that is always capitalized and abbreviations such as IQ, TV, and others are not allowed.
  • Words that are racial or tribal are banned from being used in scrabble games.
  • When an English version game is played, all words from a foreign language cannot be used unless adopted in the English dictionary.
  • Slang words that have not found their way in the English dictionary cannot be used unless agreed upon by all players at the table.

How many squares do you start within Scrabble?

Each player starts with seven squares in Scrabble. In turn, a player can use all of the seven squares at once to earn a bingo that adds 50 additional points on top of the score earned in that round. 

A player must use at least two squares to make a word, meaning you cannot form a word of one letter. Every time a player uses two or more squares to form a word, they should replace the tiles with new tiles from the bag until the tiles run out and the game comes to an end.

Rules of Scrabble

Rules for Scrabble: Conclusion 

The three basic rules a player needs to know before playing Scrabble should be: how to play a word, how scoring is done, and how to replace a tile after use.

Rules change depending on where the game is played, especially if different households. If the game is played among friends, then a player can apply any rule as long as players are ok with it, but players must follow official rules if the game is played on a tournament level.

It’s always good to familiarize yourself with the rules before playing the game because illegal moves are penalized, especially when it comes to the formation of words. The words that someone can find in the dictionary agreed upon at the start of the game are the only legitimate words accepted on the board. 

The secret of becoming a pro in Scrabble is to improve vocabulary with as many words as possible to be used in the game. The longer the word is, the more points it scores. 

Like any other game, without knowing the rules, a player cannot properly play the game. This breakdown of Scrabble rules will give you a clear understanding of how to play and maximize your opportunity to win the game.

Sharing is caring!