How to Solve Dropped Letter Puzzles

by David Montoya
Check your work often to make sure your answers make sense.

Check your work often to make sure your answers make sense.

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Dropped letter puzzles, often referred to as drop quote puzzles, force readers to solve a quote by filling in the blanks with the proper letters, much like a crossword puzzle. Each individual letter appears in a box, with a grouping of boxes representing a single word. The sentence occurs in several lines, allowing the letter boxes to create columns. The letters that go into each letter box column appear beneath the puzzle in a scrambled order. You must determine the right letters through trial and error to solve the puzzle.

Step 1

Look for single-lettered words firs, such as "a" or "I". These are the simplest words to solve and provide a slight insight into the following words and the subject matter of the sentence. Leave blank any boxes you still cannot solve.

Step 2

Move next to two and three letter words. One of the most common words used in sentences includes "the." Think of as many common words as possible and see if they can fit some of the blank spaces. Solve as many two- to three-letter words as you can. According to Puzzles.com, the most common two and three letter words include the following: and, to, or an, on, in, out, the, as, of. Start with the three-lettered words first, as these types of words tend to repeat more often.

Step 3

Return to the single-letter words that you could not solve the first time around. Utilize the two- and three-letter worlds you solved to help make a determination. Write down all common prefixes and suffixes on a sheet of paper and see if you can spot any.

Step 4

Look for common prefixes and suffixes that can help you solve larger words. For example, words often end in "ed" or begin with "re."

Step 5

Look for repeating words in the sentence, especially if you are solving a quote. Older quotes tend to repeat the same words often as a literary device. Once you solve a multi-lettered word, look to see if that word might appear again, based on letter choices.

Step 6

Continue checking the entire sentence each time you believe you solved a word. This helps ensure your sentence continues to make sense. For example, you can hypothetically make a word out of given letters, only to realize that you created the wrong word early on but never caught it. This wrong word prevents you from creating the right words in all the affected columns. Repeated checking helps you catch mistakes before you begin to make a minor error worse by building upon it.

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