Suppose that a Scrabble player has just made his/her turn. He/she played just a single tile but made two different words. One of the newly formed words is horizontal and another one is vertical.

I am quite new to Scrabble, and I know there is a concept called the main word. I wonder how to determine the main word in the above case. Is it simply determined randomly?

  • How do you determine between your right and left which is your main shoe? Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 19:59
  • the player takes credit for both words created.
    – ava
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


Main words are not a concept of the game of Scrabble itself, only of the written Scrabble notation commonly used to record tournament games (and likely also found in some computerised versions of the game), although it has since been incorporated into some rule sets that also outline the notation system.

Since the notation system is used simply to track moves, it doesn't matter which combination in your example would be chosen as the main word - both words still score the same within the game, and the notated move would still create the same two words on the board if the game were to be replayed.

As such it doesn't matter if the main word is selected randomly, always horizontal, always vertical, alphabetically, or otherwise.

  • 8
    Highest-scoring could potentially be an option for how to choose it, too. Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 5:50
  • I bet in practice it is up to whatever the person keeping score picks.
    – Rad80
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 9:04
  • 3
    +1. BTW "alphabetically" wouldn't be a well-defined way of choosing the main word. As you might simply have a move with two identical words. Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 12:17
  • @GrzegorzOledzki That would be a more common problem when going with "highest-scoring", but you still have a point.
    – Arthur
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 15:11
  • @SomeoneSomewhere: Highest scoring seems a bit pointless, as you still need a tie-breaker when they score equal.
    – PJTraill
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 17:17

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