How to Solve Cryptograms
If you are new to solving cryptograms, then this guide will show you some of the basic methods to help you crack the codes.
1. One-letter words.
The most common one-letter words in the English language are i and a, so decoding those words will give you a good start to solving the puzzle.
2. Frequency analysis.
There are letters that show up more frequently than others. In order starting with the most frequent they are: E, T, A, O, I, N. Encrypted letters that show up the most are very likely to be one of these high frequency letters.
3. Contractions and possessives.
Contractions are words that combine two words into a single word. This is done by replacing letters with an apostrophe.
Possessives also use apostrophes but will only use them with an ‘S’. They and are used to show ownership.
|‘T||ISN’T, AREN’T, DIDN’T, CAN’T|
|‘S||HE’S, SHE’S IT’S|
|‘D||HE’D, SHE’D, I’D, THEY’D|
|‘LL||I’LL, HE’LL SHE’LL, THEY’LL, IT’LL|
4. Two- and Three-letter words.
Since identifying the one-letter words and the high frequency letters, you may now notice a few two- and three-letter words with a single letter decoded. There is only a hand full of common two-letter words and not many more three-letter words. Analyze these words to determine what fits.
Common Two- and Three-Letter Words
|Two Letters||to, of, in, it, is, as, at, be, we, he, so, on, an, or, do, if, up, by, my|
|Three Letters||the, and, are, for, not, but, had, has, was, all, any, one, man, out, you, his, her, can|
5. Digraph Patterns
In the English language certain less-common letters will often pair up with other letters. This is known as a ‘digraph’. One of the most common occurrences of this is the use of the letter ‘H’. When seen at the end of a word the there is a good chance it will be paired with another letter. For example, CH, SH, TH or PH.
Another example of digraphs is duplicate letters in the same word. A few examples of this are, FEED, ADD, ROOM, and VACUUM. Of course, there is an extensive list of words that use duplicate letters, so keep an eye out for them.
6. Comparative and Superlative Words
This book is full of encoded quotes and jokes. The purpose of quotes and jokes is to make a generalized point and rely on comparatives and superlatives to make that point.
Common Comparatives and Superlatives
|ALWAYS / NEVER||BEST / WORST|
|OFTEN / RARELY||MORE / LESS|
|EVERYBODY / NOBODY||EVERYTHING / NOTHING|
|BETTER / WORSE||MOST / LEAST|
|USUALLY / RARELY||EVERYONE / NOONE|