There’s a viral riddle making rounds on many social media and instant messaging platforms lately, and people are getting it wrong. The riddle is about the sons of a particular mother, which is a very easy question if you’re not overthinking it.
The riddle goes thus: “Someone’s mother has four sons; three are named North, East, and South. What is the name of the fourth son? If you think that’s a pretty easy riddle and you answered West, you’d be aligning with almost everyone who answered the question, but you’d also be wrong.
There are two possible answers to this riddle, and both of those answers are very tricky and require paying attention to unnecessary details. If you want the solution to this riddle to outsmart your friends, you may want to continue reading this article.
Why Is the Riddle So Tricky?
If your friend asked you the question, you’d have likely jumped to the apparent answer, thinking you were so smart to figure it out that easily. However, that means you’ve taken the wrong approach to answering the question since riddles were not made to be logical.
Instead, when answering riddles like this, you should keep an eye out for every unnecessary detail, as those are what typically contain the answers. If the answer is as evident as it looks in this riddle, it’s most likely a trap and not the actual answer to the riddle at all.
The reason why this riddle looks so is that it has two tricky aspects. Since one of them is more obscure than the other, the evident solution actively prevents you from paying attention, making it easy to provide the false solution as the real one.
When faced with a riddle like this, always try to read the message behind what appears to be the meaning. Instead of jumping to the conclusion of the average 10-year-old kid, why not spend more time trying to see how the irrelevant details apply to the bigger picture?
The charm of this riddle is after reading all these, you may still end up with a solution that is technically correct but isn’t intended since this riddle has two solutions, depending on how it’s phrased. The following sections will explain each of the solutions to this riddle and why you have a hard time figuring it out.
Spoilers Ahead: Someone’s Mother Has Four Sons Riddle Solution
Before moving on, recall that this riddle has two possible answers depending on the phrasing. This section will solve the riddle: “Someone’s mother has four sons; three are named North, East, and South, what is the name of the fourth son?
When the question is phrased this way, giving West as the answer is assuming that the name of the fourth son should be relative to that of their siblings. While that logic may apply in some real-world instances, it’s just an assumption and it’s false.
In short, the answer wasn’t given away where you thought it was. However, that doesn’t mean there’s no answer there in the riddle; in fact, the answer is right there in the first part of the riddle: “Someone’s mother has four sons.”
Let me explain it in a way that you’ll understand it better. If I say, John’s mother has four sons; three of them are James, Jones, and Jack, what’s the name of the fourth son? You’d certainly have no problem giving “John” as the answer since the first part has already given that away.
Likewise, when we say “Someone’s mother has four sons,” it means the name of the fourth son is certainly “Someone.” While Someone isn’t a name that most of us have heard, how many friends do you have bearing North, East, or South?
Next time, stop making assumptions from implied information extracted from a riddle. Pay attention to the unnecessary but logical details of the riddle and you should get the answer right every single time.
Someone’s Mother Has Four Sons Alternate Solution
As this article has emphasized severally, riddles are intentionally meant to be tricky. Even with a load of explanations as to why your answer is correct, you can never be so confident. It turns out that the answer from the preceding section could be wrong, depending on how the asker phrase the question.
If you’re getting confused, I’ll explain. Sometimes, the riddle is asked this way: “Someone’s mother has four sons; three of them are South, East, and North. What is the name of the fourth son. If it doesn’t look any different to you, you may have to up your riddling skills.
There are a couple of things you should note upon taking a second look at the amended riddle above. Firstly, you’ll notice that the last part of the riddle is cut off completely from the preceding part. Secondly, you can also see that the question mark at the end has been replaced with a period.
If everything still looks confusing to you, the answer is right in the full stop. Riddles are often questions, but they’re not always questions. Sometimes, the asker might make a statement and watch you guess a plethora of answers when the riddle wasn’t even a question. That’s another weird way of making a riddle.
If you look closely, that’s what’s happening in this riddle too. They’re not trying to ask you the name of the fourth son because it’s already right there in the riddle. You can fall for the trick by answering the question and making yourself look stupid. However, a question remains: what’s the name of the fourth son?
The answer is different from what we saw in the preceding section. Here, the fourth son’s name isn’t Someone, but it’s What. Take a solid look at the last part of the riddle; that’s where the asker made the statement declaring his name.
Again, I’ve never met someone bearing the name “What,” but hey, it’s a riddle. One of the best ways to spend years trying to solve a riddle is trying to use commonsense, and thinking a mother with sons named North and East can’t name her son What is excessive use of commonsense.
When you get a riddle, you need to seek answers from what doesn’t look so obvious. In most cases, the answers to the most challenging riddles lie in the things you don’t pay attention to; like phrases that appear detached from the main statement.
The next time you get the ‘Someone’s mother has four sons” riddle, you’ll first ask if the riddle is a question. If it is, the answer is definitely “Someone,” but if it isn’t, you’ve already solved the riddle by catching the trap. You’re welcome.
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