100 Word Puzzles in English and Creative Riddles to Make Language Learning Fun
Word puzzles in English are not only two of the most fun ways of learning and practicing English, they’re actually very effective learning tools.
Riddles in English also work really well. Here’s an example of an English riddle:
Riddle: What is something that belongs to you but that everyone else uses?
Answer: Your name
This sort of tricky question is what we’d call a riddle. It’s a question or puzzle that often has a funny, clever or unexpected answer.
A riddle makes you think about the many different meanings of a word. It forces you to be creative with language.
If you’re looking to learn English fluently, then learning it with the help of riddles in English is sure to be a fun and efficient addition to your educational program.
Read on to learn about 10 word puzzles in English and a large collection of some of the most popular and clever English riddles.
- Word Puzzles in English to Make Learning Fun
- Ultimate List of Fun and Creative Riddles in English
- And One More Thing...
Word Puzzles in English to Make Learning Fun
Popularized in 2020, Wordle, which is now owned by the New York Times, has a deceptively simple concept: to guess a five letter word in five tries.
When you get a letter correct, the square turns green. When you get a letter right, but in the wrong position, it turns yellow.
The game is a great way to learn new vocabulary and to start to recognize letter and sound patterns in English.
There’s just one new word per day, so you’ll never get overwhelmed.
- The official Wordle game is available here.
- There’s another unofficial Wordle game here that you can play unlimited times.
Hangman is a classic puzzle, popular not only with English learners but also with native speakers.
Traditionally, it is a guessing game played by at least two people:
- Player 1 thinks of a word with a certain number of letters. They draw a blank line for each letter.
- Player 2 has to guess at letters that are included in the word. If Player 2 correctly guesses a letter that is in the word, Player 1 has to reveal all the places that letter appears on the blank line(s).
- If a guess is wrong, Player 1 gets to draw a part of a man on a hanging pole, like a head or an arm.
- Typically, Player 2 has about eight wrong guesses before being “hung” and losing the game. If Player 2 manages to guess the word before then, then they will be the winner.
There are many varieties of this game. If a word is very long, it might be acceptable to add more parts for the man (such as eyes and ears) to allow for more wrong guesses. You can also play with a computer instead, so you don’t need a partner for this puzzle.
Here are some resources to play Hangman puzzles online or on the go:
3. Crossword Puzzles
A crossword puzzle is a word game where a player is given clues to guess words. Each hint leads to a word, written in rows of squares that cross each other. This means some words share some letters. Once you find a word, you are rewarded with letters of one or more words with other clues.
A hint could be something like “the plural form of person” and the answer might be “people.” Or if the hint was “offspring,” the answer might be “child.”
Check out collections of puzzles for English learners on the two websites below.
If you like doing them on the way to school or work, you can also try the mobile apps. However, the crosswords you find on the mobile apps will probably be more challenging.
- You can play online here: BBC Learning English or Englisch-Hilfen.de
- You can also download mobile apps: New York Times Crossword (iOS) or Crossword Puzzle Free (Android)
This mobile app word game is simple. A player gets a board of scrambled letters to form words. Each word that you put together gives a different score. If you make a word using bonus tiles, you will earn more points. You can play alone, against a friend or against a stranger in the community. You can also play in a team.
5. Johnny Grammar’s Word Challenge
Johnny Grammar’s Word Challenge is straightforward: You answer as many spelling, vocabulary and grammar questions as you can in 60 seconds.
The challenges are in three categories: words, grammar and spelling. There are three levels, from easy to hard. Complete all levels of each group and you will earn the Grammar Guru, Word Wizard and Supreme Speller badges, which can be shared with other players.
The game is available on mobile, both iOS and Android.
6. Wrangling Words
Word Wrangling is another game made by the British Council for English learners. You practice looking for patterns, shapes and relationships between letters and words.
There are actually eight puzzles included in this game.
In “Stem words,” you guess words from the stem and the meaning provided.
“What’s missing” gives you three random-looking words as a clue and you have to guess the word that is missing.
In the puzzle “Someone stole the…,” players have to use the provided vowels to fill in the blanks and form correct English words.
“Word mates” tests your knowledge of compound nouns while “Anagrams” checks your ability to spell words correctly.
The “Turn around” puzzle is a challenging one that gives you clues for two words that share the same letters but have different spellings.
The last two puzzles, “Which/witch word” and “Get or have,” focus on grammatical usages of various words.
- You can play these challenging yet straightforward puzzles on the British Council’s Learn English website.
Scrabble, a classic word game, offers an engaging and effective way for language learners to enhance their vocabulary and language skills.
Players strategically use letter tiles to create words on a game board, fostering creativity and critical thinking. The game not only reinforces spelling but also encourages players to explore new words, learn their meanings, and experiment with various letter combinations.
Scrabble promotes a fun and interactive approach to language acquisition, allowing learners to immerse themselves in the richness of the language while enjoying a competitive and intellectually stimulating experience.
Bananagrams is a dynamic and fast-paced word game that provides an entertaining and effective avenue for language learners to sharpen their linguistic abilities.
In this game, participants race against time to create a grid of interconnected words using letter tiles, fostering quick thinking and lexical dexterity.
Bananagrams promotes vocabulary expansion, spelling accuracy and enhances overall language skills in a lively and engaging format. The game’s emphasis on speed encourages players to think on their feet, reinforcing both active recall and word association.
Its portable nature also makes it a convenient tool for language learners on the go, offering a playful and interactive way to reinforce language acquisition in diverse settings.
Whether played solo or in a group, Bananagrams adds an element of excitement to language learning, making it a valuable resource for learners.
- Banagrams is available on Amazon here.
9. Words with Friends
Words with Friends, a digital word game akin to Scrabble, provides an interactive platform for language learners to refine their language skills in a virtual environment.
Players take turns forming words on a virtual game board, incorporating strategic thinking and word placement.
The game’s asynchronous nature allows learners to engage in language practice at their own pace, making it accessible and flexible for different schedules.
Words with Friends encourages exploration of new vocabulary, as players vie for high-scoring words and learn through trial and error. Additionally, the social aspect of the game, where players can connect with friends or opponents from around the world, enhances the language-learning experience by promoting communication and cultural exchange.
Alphabear combines word creation with cute bear characters, making it both entertaining and educational.
Players are given a grid of letter tiles and must strategically arrange them to form words and score points.
The unique twist in Alphabear is that the letters on the board turn into adorable bears when used, and these bears can grow and contribute to higher scores.
The game not only reinforces spelling and vocabulary but also encourages players to think creatively to maximize their points.
Ultimate List of Fun and Creative Riddles in English
Riddles are a fun kind of word puzzle. They ask a question or describe a situation that has to be figured out in a creative way. They often involve double meanings, creative word play and clever usage of language.
Here’s a fun selection of riddles in English, organized from easy to most difficult. See how far you can get on the list!
Riddle: What can you catch, but not throw?
Answer: A cold
Riddle: What has a face and two hands but no arms or legs?
Answer: A clock
Riddle: What has keys but can’t open locks?
Answer: A piano
Riddle: What has a thumb and four fingers but is not alive?
Answer: A glove
Riddle: I am taken from a mine and shut in a wooden case. When I am needed, I am taken out and used. What am I?
Answer: Pencil lead/graphite
Riddle: What has cities but no houses, forests but no trees, and rivers but no water?
Answer: A map
Riddle: The more you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?
Riddle: What goes up but never comes down?
Riddle: I have branches, but no fruit, trunk, or leaves. What am I?
Answer: A bank
Riddle: I speak without a mouth and hear without ears. I have no body, but I come alive with wind. What am I?
Answer: An echo
Riddle: I am full of holes but still hold water. What am I?
Answer: A sponge
Riddle: What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and gray when you throw it away?
Answer: Charcoal (for a grill or barbecue)
Riddle: I can fly without wings. I can cry without eyes. Wherever I go, darkness follows me. What am I?
Answer: A cloud
Riddle:I have keys, but no locks. I have space, but no room. You can enter, but can’t go outside. What am I?
Answer: A keyboard
Riddle:What has a heart that doesn’t beat?
Answer: A deck of cards
Riddle: The more it dries, the wetter it gets. What is it?
Answer: A towel
Riddle: I am an odd number. Take away one letter and I become even. What number am I
Riddle:I am always in front of you, but you will never see me. What am I?
Answer: The future
Riddle:What has a neck but no head?
Answer: A bottle
Riddle:What has four legs but can’t walk?
Answer: A table
Riddle: I am taken from a mine and shut in a wooden case. When I am opened, I can no longer be used. What am I?
Answer: A matchstick
Riddle: I am not alive, but I can grow; I don’t have lungs, but I need air; I don’t have a mouth, but water kills me. What am I?
Riddle: What can you hold without ever touching or using your hands?
Answer: Your breath
Riddle: I can be as thin as a picture frame but my insides have many things you can see. What am I?
Answer: A television
Riddle: I am the beginning of the end, the end of every place. I am the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space. What am I?
Answer: The letter “E”
Riddle: I am a word of letters three. Add two, and fewer there will be. What word am I?
Riddle: What has teeth but cannot eat?
Answer: A comb
Riddle: What has one eye but cannot see?
Answer: A needle
Riddle: What has to be broken before you can use it?
Riddle: What goes up but never comes down?
Riddle: I have cities, but no houses. I have forests, but no trees. I have rivers, but no water. What am I?
Answer: A globe
Riddle: The more you have of it, the less you see. What is it?
Riddle: What goes around the world but stays in a corner?
Answer: A stamp
Riddle: What can you keep after giving it to someone?
Answer: Your word
Riddle: What has a tongue but cannot taste?
Answer: A shoe
Riddle: I have no life, but I can die. What am I?
Answer: A battery
Riddle: What has a mouth but cannot eat, moves but has no legs, and has a bank but cannot put money in it?
Answer: A river
Riddle: What is bought by the yard but is worn by the foot?
Riddle: If you have me, you want to share me. If you share me, you don’t have me. What am I?
Answer: A secret
Riddle: What has a heart that doesn’t beat, a tongue that doesn’t taste, and a soul that doesn’t rest?
Answer: A painting
Riddle: What has a head, a tail, is brown, and has no legs?
Answer: A penny
Riddle: I can bring tears to your eyes; resurrect the dead, make you smile, and reverse time. I form in an instant but last a lifetime. What am I?
Answer: A memory
Riddle: What can fill a room but takes up no space?
Riddle: I have branches, but no fruit, trunk or leaves. What am I?
Answer: A bank
Riddle: How many months have 28 days?
Answer: Every month
Riddle: I have a single eye but cannot see. I am strong and fast, but I have no arms or legs. What am I?
Answer: A tornado
Riddle: What has only two words, but thousands of letters?
Answer: A post office
Riddle: What can you hold in your right hand but never in your left hand?
Answer: Your left hand
Riddle: I’m full of holes but strong as steel. What am I?
Answer: A chain
Riddle: I am always on the tip of your tongue, but never in your mouth. What am I?
Answer: A thought
Riddle: What can be seen in darkness, but never in light? It is present in the day, but absent in the night.
Answer: The letter “D”
Riddle: What can be swallowed, but can also swallow you?
Riddle: Throw away the outside and cook the inside, then eat the outside and throw away the inside. What is it?
Answer: Corn on the cob
Riddle: I am always coming, but I never arrive. What am I?
Riddle: How many letters are in the alphabet?
Answer: Eleven letters
Riddle: Which word in the dictionary is spelled incorrectly?
Riddle: The person who makes it, sells it. The person who buys it never uses it. The person who uses it never knows they’re using it. What is it?
Answer: A coffin
Riddle: The more you cut me, the bigger I grow. What am I?
Answer: A hole
Riddle: I am always hungry, I must always be fed. The finger I touch will soon turn red. What am I?
Riddle: I can be cracked, made, told and played. What am I?
Answer: A joke
Riddle: What comes once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years?
Answer: The letter “M”
Riddle: I have a heart that doesn’t beat. I can flow without water. What am I?
Riddle: I can be long or short. I can be grown or bought. I can be painted or left bare. What am I?
Answer: A fence
Resources for Learning More English Riddles
If you’re not familiar with riddles, these resources should kick-start your learning process:
- Firstcry Parenting: “50 Best Riddles for Kids”
Because these riddles from Firstcry Parenting are for children, they’re pretty simple. Many of them rely on a knowledge of the English alphabet, or on simple logical thinking skills.
For example: “What begins with the letter ‘t’, is full of ‘t’ and finishes with ‘t’?”
The answer, of course, is a teapot.
This riddle teaches you about how certain letters and words sound similar, but refer to different things. For example, the English letter “T” is pronounced the same as the beverage “tea.” In English, we call these homonyms. You’ll find them in a ton of riddles!
- Brainzilla Riddles
Many of the riddles on Brainzilla will try to distract you with complicated sentence structure. You have to read carefully to make sure you haven’t misunderstood the question.
For instance, here’s a riddle: “A man says: ‘Brothers and sisters, have I none, but that man’s father is my father’s son.’ Who is he pointing at?”
If you pay attention, you’ll realize the answer is hidden in the question itself. The speaker is pointing to his son.
- Reader’s Digest: “27 of the Hardest Riddles Ever”
These questions from Reader’s Digest are designed to fool you and mislead you. The trick to solving them is to remember exactly what the question is asking you.
Here’s an example: “You see a boat filled with people. It has not sunk, but when you look again you don’t see a single person on the boat. Why?”
The answer is that everyone’s married.
This riddle is based on the double meaning of that phrase. “You don’t see a single person…” could mean that there aren’t any people on board. However, it could also mean that you don’t see any single (or, unmarried) people.
- Research Maniacs: “World’s Hardest Riddles”
You’ll need to have superior comprehension skills as well as a good idea of the finer bits of English culture for these riddles from Research Maniacs.
Here’s a sample: “What is the saddest fruit?”
The answer is a blueberry.
The word “blue” not only refers to a color. In English, to be “blue” can also mean to be sad. In fact, the color blue is frequently associated with sadness.
Now that you know so many riddles in English, try to watch authentic content and find instances of native speakers using them. For example, you could try listening for riddles in YouTube videos, English language podcasts and video-focused language learning programs like FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
If you’re feeling really confident, you can try this bonus exercise: come up with your own riddles.
Try to come up with something similar to the word-plays you encountered in other riddles.
For instance, the similarity between the letter “T” and “tea”, might remind you how “sea,” “see” and the alphabet “C” all sound alike. How can you relate these things in a clever way?
Try out your new riddles with friends and other English learners!
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)