I have killed a couple of dragons. When I go to the "shouts" section of the magic menu, it tells me that I have 2 dragon souls available in the lower right corner. However, when I press "R" to try and unlock another shout, it tells me that dragon souls are required to unlock shouts, just like in the beginning of the game when I had none.

When I got 3 souls, I was able to unlock a shout, but I still cannot use the other two. I have three shouts unlocked in total.

To clarify: I have lots of greyed-out shouts in the list. I have 2 dragon souls, but still cannot press "R" to unlock them.

Here's a screenshot

  • 1
    possible duplicate of Dragon souls not activating new words
    – Wipqozn
    Nov 26, 2011 at 14:33
  • 1
    @Ben I read the answers and your comments on them. It sure sounds like a bug. Did you try saving/reloading then trying again?
    – Mugen
    Nov 26, 2011 at 16:53

5 Answers 5


I got the same message, but it turned out I was pressing 'E' to equip the shout, and not 'R' to unlock it.

If the shout you're trying to unlock is three words long, you may need three souls to unlock it.

You may have the wrong shout selected. Skyrim's UI is tricky sometimes, and you'll have a different menu item highlighted than you think.


Shout = word + dragon soul.

To get dragon souls, kill dragons.

To get words, explore. Look for dragon nests and for draugr tombs.

When you have both a soul and a word, you can unlock the shout by these steps:

  • go to magic -> shouts
  • select the word (should be greyed out)
  • press the unlock button
  • I have lots of greyed out words
    – Ben
    Nov 26, 2011 at 16:19
  • @Ben: But can you select them? Try using your arrow keys. Nov 26, 2011 at 16:24

You are pressing the wrong button. It's that easy. You are pressing the equip button not the unlock button. On PS3 it is square and on XBox its X. I don't know what it is for PC though. (It should be the same as your unsheathing button.)


Try other key, sometimes the menus key are not what they say they are.

If nothing works, change your up/down/left/right keys and try again.

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    I think I am pressing the right key, since a menu pops up with a message saying that dragon souls are required to unlock shouts. I have two, though.
    – Ben
    Nov 26, 2011 at 16:22

Dragon souls are used to activate words; in your case you haven't learned the words to the shout yet.

Progress through the main quest and/or shout in a city (don't hurt anyone) to get a courier to appear; both will put you on quests in which you will find additional word walls.

  • But I have lots of shouts listed which are greyed out.
    – Ben
    Nov 26, 2011 at 16:21
  • @Ben: Are you sure you mean the shouts are greyed out? On the other answer you mentioned that words are greyed out. I'm confused about what exactly you are seeing on the shout screen, can you take a screenshot and include it in your question so we know the exact situation? Nov 26, 2011 at 16:22
  • The shout is only shown if one of the words is known. Therefore, if the shout is in his inventory but grayed out, he has learned at least one word of the shout, just not unlocked it.
    – Flater
    Jan 16, 2012 at 16:42

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