"Mr & Mrs Smith Had 4 Daughters" Riddle : Solution Explained

Riddle Details : 

"Mr Smith has 4 daughters. Each of his daughters has a brother. How many children does Mr Smith have?"

"Mr & Mrs. Smith Had 4 Daughters" Riddle 
Solution Explained

Solution: Five Children

Solution Explained: 

The most widely accepted answer to the riddle is Five. Mr. Smith has five children.

This can be explained in simple sections:
  • We know that Mr. Smith has 4 daughters (4). according to the statement Mr. Smith has 4 children who are daughters.
  • Also, We know that each of the daughters has a brother (1). Here the Mr smith will be having only one son who will be a brother for all daughters.
  • Thus the total number of children to Mr smith is 5 which consisting of 4 daughters and 1 son.
This riddle is not a test of Mathematics. This is more of a logical puzzle and many people have ended up giving the wrong answers, because of the confusion the way the puzzle is worded. Many people make an assumption that all four of the daughters have different brothers, and therefore add 4 + 4 (daughters + brothers) to get the answer which results in eight children.

However, this is not explicitly mentioned in the riddle, which makes the assumption wrong. If the riddle read grammatically correct, this riddle correctly reads that - all of the sisters have a brother in common, meaning all four sisters share the same one brother.

The other way to look into the riddle lies in the grammar of the riddle, there is one more variation of the similar riddle which I will explain in the latter part of the article.

In this variation of the puzzle, the sentence is formed in the present tense. This will ensure that Mr. Smith currently has all his children with him. If each sister has a brother, then Mr. Smith has a total of five children. Though the riddle sounds very simple, it confuses people by the use of words and sentence formation.

If the same riddle is asked by altering the word like .. Mr.Smith had 4 daughters. Each of his daughters has a brother. How many children does Mr. Smith have?

The answer to this variation is quite simple but it is important to know that this puzzle plays around with words. In this iteration of the puzzle the word 'had' takes over much significance. It is an interesting puzzle which plays around with people's mind by tricking people's perception.

If emphasized on the word 'had', then it means that currently Mr. Smith currently does not have any kids. One needs to carefully observe the tense of the sentence in the riddle. The sentence is formed in past-tense which confirms that Mr. Smith does not have any kids now.

However, due to the nature of the riddle, there can be always more than one accepted answer. Another twist to the riddle revolves around the initial sentence, which reads “each of his daughters has a brother”. Logically, there is no confirmation that Mr. Smith’s brothers are also his children.

You can also view the riddle from different angles like all of the daughters and brothers could be from a prior wedding, affair, etc. because the riddle does not explicitly mention that they are all his sons. Although, again, the riddle does not specify that the brothers are ‘stepbrothers’.

Finally, the most accepted answer to this riddle is 5, but it can have multiple interpretations. Lets everyone know your answer in the comment section.

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