“Mr Smith had 4 daughters”, try to solve this viral riddle

Sania SaeedWeb Editor

23rd Sep, 2021. 05:22 pm


“Mr Smith had four daughters” each of his daughters had a brother. How many children does Mr Smith have?

This is a deceptively tricky riddle! If your first thought was that Mr Smith has eight children, you’re not alone. Lots of people think that each daughter has one brother, making four daughters and four brothers = eight children. But that’s not quite right! The riddle looks like a math test on the front, but it’s actually a test of reading.

Answer to Mr Smith had four daughters riddle:

The answer to the riddle is… five! Mr Smith has five children. Each of his daughters had a brother, but they all shared the same brother. Therefore, four daughters plus one brother = five children in total. Grammar nerds might have gotten this one right before math lovers!

Of course, it’s called the “Mr Smith had four daughters” riddle, meaning that you could interpret that past tense “had” in two ways: Firstly, that Mr Smith had four daughters, i.e. that four daughters were born to him. Secondly, that Mr Smith used to have four daughters, but now he has none, in which case the answer to how many children he had might be zero! However, the more commonly accepted interpretation is the first one, that Mr Smith has four daughters and a son, making five children in total.

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