Scrabble/Playing the J

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The J is one of the highest scoring tiles in the English Scrabble game, at a face value of 8 points, behind only the Q and Z and tied with X. There is only one J in a standard set of 100 tiles.

Because of its infrequency in the English language, it is more difficult to form longer words with the J, so getting rid of J usually increases your chance of playing a bingo. Because it is worth 8 points at face value, it is usually best to look for potent premium squares (DLS, TLS for example) for the J and conversely, block them if you are fairly certain your opponent holds the J or any other high-scoring tile.

JO is the only two letter-word containing J listed in the Official Scrabble Player's Dictionary (OSPD4) and Official Club and Tournament Word List (OCTWL or OWL/TWL), which is defined as "a sweetheart." Its plural is JOES, so don't try to stick an S on JO making JOS*; you will likely lose a turn. CSW also lists JA#, which is borrowed from German "yes."

TWL 3-letter words containing J[edit]

There are 26 3-letter words containing J listed in TWL:

  • HAJ, JAB, JAG, JAM, JAR, JAW, JAY, JEE, JET, JEU, JEW, JIB, JIG, JIN, JOB, JOE, JOG, JOT, JOW, JOY, JUG, JUN, JUS, JUT, RAJ, TAJ

CSW 3-letter words containing J[edit]

CSW contains eight 3-letter words containing J, in addition to the 26 listed above, making a total of 34:

  • GJU#, JAI#, JAK#, JAP#, JIZ#, JOL#, JOR#, JUD#


Some useful J-words[edit]

A useful list of words to know is JIN and its variant spellings. The word JIN is more familiar to English speakers as GENIE, but since the word has Arabic origins, and Arabic words to not use the Roman alphabet, there are a multitude of ways that GENIE has entered the English lexicon. Here are all TWL-acceptable variations:

  • GENIE[S]
  • JIN[S]
  • JINN[S]
  • JINNI[S]
  • JINNEE (does not take the S)
  • DJIN[S]
  • DJINN[S]
  • DJINNI


Also useful to know are which words take S-hooks and which ones do not. JUN is a North Korean coin and does not pluralize with an S. JEU comes from French, and takes an X (forming JEUX) but not S.

Combining Bonus Squares[edit]

Be especially alert for opportunities to play the J on a double- or triple-letter score, and reaching a double- or triple-word play on the same turn. Four such plays are shown below (including an opening play).

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O
1
WS
     
J8
        
WS
        
LS
     
WS
2   
WS
  
A1
  
LS
        
LS
        
WS
  
3      
U1
P3
W4
A1
R1
D2

LS
        
WS
     
4
LS
     
A1
        
LS
        
WS
     
LS
5         
N1

WS
              
WS
           
6   
LS
        
LS
        
LS
        
LS
  
7      
LS
        
LS
  
LS
        
LS
     
8
WS
     
J8
O1
V4
I1
A1
L1
     
LS
     
WS
9      
LS
        
LS
  
LS
        
LS
     
10   
LS
        
LS
        
LS
        
J8
  
11            
WS
              
WS
     
A1
  
12
J8
     
WS
        
LS
     
H4
E1
A1
D2

LS
13
O1
U1
T1
E1
R1
  
LS
  
LS
        
WS
E1
  
14
I1

WS
        
LS
        
LS
        
S1
  
15
N1
     
LS
        
WS
        
LS
     
WS