A simple riddle: English vs maths

Feb 22, 2021
Every elephant saw two monkeys going towards the river. Source: Getty

One rabbit saw six elephants while going to the river.

Every elephant saw two monkeys going towards the river.

Every monkey holds one parrot in their hands.

How many animals are going towards the river?

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The answer to the simple maths riddle is: five animals. 

Well done if you got it right!

 

But don’t worry if you didn’t get the correct answer; we’ll go through the question again and talk through the result.

One rabbit saw six elephants while going to the river.  Therefore, only one animal (the rabbit) is going towards the river.

Every elephant saw two monkeys going towards the river. This is the tricky part, from the sentence it implies each of the six elephants saw two monkeys going towards the river, hence logically will be 6 x 2 = 12 animals (monkeys) going towards the river. However, the statement does not explicitly say that “Every elephant saw two DIFFERENT monkeys”, therefore implicit rules apply and you can infer that the two monkeys are the same, hence there exists only two monkeys going towards the river.

Finally, every monkey holds one parrot in their hands. Therefore, two parrots are going towards the river.

So one rabbit, two monkeys and two parrots = five animals going towards the river.

 

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