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Mr. Smith had 4 daughters puzzle: Here’s how to find the answer to the viral challenge

Mr. Smith has 4 daughters puzzle
Can you solve the Mr. Smith has 4 daughters without looking at the answer? Pic credit: Puzzle Adda/ YouTube

With everyone practicing social distancing these days, many of us are holed up in our homes looking for something to do.

And there’s one puzzle that started doing the rounds on Facebook that has lots of us tearing our hair out in frustration; its the one with Mr. Smith and his four daughters.

Lots of us are attempting to get through the coronavirus pandemic by binge-watching TV shows and movies; however, there’s only so much Netflix some of us can take.

Some of us have taken to reading books while others have resorted to blowing the dust off the board games and jigsaw puzzles that have been stuck in the cupboard since the ’90s.

Social media has done its bit for the terminally bored by providing us with continual challenges and brainteasers.

What is the Mr. Smith and his 4 daughters riddle?

The riddle read like this:

Mr. Smith had 4 daughters, each of his daughters had a brother. How many children does Mr. Smith have?

Take a moment, if necessary, to have a little ponder over it.

So, how many children does Mr. Smith have?

The answer to the riddle is five. Mr. Smith has four daughters and one son; therefore, he has five children in total.

The question is confusing because of the way it plays around with words. It puts too much emphasis on the word “had.” The use of the past tense makes it sound like Mr. Smith no longer has any children.

But simply put, we know Mr. Smith had four daughters (4) and one son (1), which equals five children in total.

In reality, this question has nothing to do with math; it’s just a riddle based on clever wordplay.

There have been lots of puzzles, teases, and challenges flooding social media in recent weeks as we attempt to keep our bodies and minds active while social distancing.

Another fun brain teaser doing the rounds at the moment is the Spot the Cat challenge, which involves a cartoon picture of a woman with a broom and bucket standing in front of a wooded door and brick wall.

All you have to do is spot the cat in the pic. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Follow the link to have a go and find the answer.

Another challenge that involves having a good knowledge of classic and cult movies is the 66 Movies in a Picture Challenge, which is all about spotting and naming the movie references in a cartoon picture of a garage.

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Comments - Have Your Say

  1. According to you it’s 5 children, but you missed the word “each”. So if we follow your advance that is 8 children since they “each” have a brother.

  2. If whomever started this please decide which version we are reading…. that would make a big difference to the answer. One reads Mr Smith HAS 4 daughters…..another reads Mr. Smith HAD 4 daughters. This is what is causing most of the confusion to the answer.

  3. I disagree.
    Zero. It specifically says he “had” daughters and the daughters “had” a brother therefore all are past tense. If 5 was correct the riddle would say “has”. Its incorrect usage of the English language.

  4. Answer isn’t obtainable based on tense. “Had” doesn’t describe how many he currently has, only how many he used to have. If he had 4 and 1 died, you could still correctly state “Mr smith had 4 daughters”. Maybe he has 0, maybe he has 1, maybe 2, maybe 3. The tense only reveals that he no longer has 4.

  5. Actually the answer is 0. You mentioned “clever wordplay” but apparently failed to take that clever wordplay into account when reading the riddle.

    He HAD 4 daughters who HAD a brother. He doesn’t HAVE children now. Past tense, present tense. If I HAD 4 cups of coffee, I do not still HAVE them.

    If he HAD 4 daughters who HAD a brother, that is past tense. He does not currently HAVE children, present tense.

  6. Boolean Logic: “a brother” does not necessarily mean “1 brother”. If a person has 2 brothers then she has a brother. There is no correct answer to this riddle. “has” or “had” is irrelevant.

  7. he HAD so they’re dead… before they died they HAD a brother so he died too … answer 0 children (even if the brother is still alive he could have been from a different marriage assuming Mr Smith’s wife left him for another man which I applaud her for ; causing so much grief kid-counting)


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