Mr. Smith Had 4 Daughters: Try to Solve the Viral Riddle

"Mr Smith had four daughters" is a viral Facebook riddle that has everyone stumped. Check out the detailed answer here! It may surprise you.

The Mr. Smith had four daughters riddle

If you’re on Facebook or other social media, you might have seen a riddle or two going around. During the long months of the pandemic, people were getting sick of television and turning to more old-fashioned fun to keep themselves from boredom: brain games, puzzles, and riddles! A few of the most tricky and confusing puzzles went viral on social media, like the Mr. Smith had four daughters riddle. Many, many people have been totally stumped by this riddle, and they want to know what it means. However, what a lot of those social media posts were missing is the number one thing you want when you’re trying to solve a riddle—the answer! Here, we’ve provided the riddle of Mr. Smith had four daughters in full, and the answer and an explanation too. You’ll still have to figure it out, but you can check to see if your reasoning was correct.

The riddle reads as follows:

Mr. Smith had four daughters. Each of his daughters has 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.

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Answer to the 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 one son, making five children in total.

Chloë Nannestad
Chloë Nannestad is a lifestyle writer covering crafts, holidays, beauty and amazing products for When she's not scouring the internet or reading product reviews, she's planning her next backpacking trip and thinking about getting a dog.