How many letters are in the answer to this question?

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  • How many letters are in the answer to this question?
  • Premier Icon wwaswas
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    I won’t spoil it with actual answer but I’m amazed that, even once knowing the answer, our house seems to be split between ‘yep, I get that’ and ‘no way could you ever deduce that answer from that question’.

    So does being able to work out the answer mean it’s a reasonable question or would it still be reasonable even if you can’t/couldn’t?

    Is it 1 or four?
    Actually not 1, of course.

    DrP
    Member

    DrP? Or DrNP?

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    23?

    DrP

    Neither of those answers

    Mister P
    Member

    I can see the thinking with four so I’ll jump on that answer.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
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    I think it should really be ‘riddle’ rather than ‘question’

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
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    Premier Icon molgrips
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    I have a feeling that 23 is going to be about as valid an answer as whatever smart-arsery the originator intended.

    Premier Icon jag61
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    I can see 3 questions so three well 5. what do i win?

    Premier Icon phil56
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    I’ll go with 13

    Premier Icon Cougar
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    I have a feeling that 23 is going to be about as valid an answer as whatever smart-arsery the originator intended.

    Indeed. It looks like the sort of vague meme that pops up on Facebook, multiple answers = lots of clicks.

    23 is valid as it’s the literal answer to the question, How many letters are in “the answer to this question”? It was the first thing I thought of when I saw it.

    “Four” is equally valid as it’s the first (only?) number I can think of with the same amount of letters as its value.

    There’s probably other solutions you could make fit as well. There is (I think) 13 different letters in “the answer to this question” for instance.

    I didn’t see 23; I suppose putting “answer to this question” would make it too obvious.

    I’ll go with none.

    Ro5ey
    Member

    16 ….. different letters

    But 6 looking at it again

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
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    What’s the answer to the question? That’d be a fine place to start

    Premier Icon Daffy
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    None – so, four. Or Zero, also four.

    Premier Icon Greybeard
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    None – so, four. Or Zero, also four.

    As I see it, number and the number of letters have to match, so it’s four. But it could be 0, as it has no letters, and the question says letters not characters.

    Premier Icon sirromj
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    All the answers have been written on postcards, so there’s no letters, zero or none, so four.

    joeydeacon
    Member

    11.. the original answer is 23 I think, and twenty three has 11 letters. This is assuming that you ask the question twice, which is a bit of a stretch. You can then answer the question again which would be 6, and then 3, and then 5 and then 4.. so 4 would be the final answer if you took that approach.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
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    either 12 or wot joeydeacon said

    Premier Icon BigJohn
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    How many letters in a postman’s bedroom?

    Premier Icon tmb467
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    Millions mate

    shermer75
    Member

    23 makes sense.

    It’s great that 4 has 4 letters in it, but how is the riddle asking for that? At what point does it say ‘think of a number that has the equal number of letters to it’s numerical value’?

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
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    500 plus VAT so 600

    @shermer75 I was mulling this over on my ride home last night and no matter how I picked apart the question, I couldn’t find any logic that would suggest the “4/four” answer, maybe only for smartarse value. I’ve googled the question and a few forums throw up that four is correct, but I still hereby withdraw the four.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
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    I went with 4, the logic being “how many” is asking for a number and we aren’t provided with any further information to suggest a specific number so it’s logical to assume you are writing a number as a word as the answer and the only number which has the same amount of letters in it as the value of the number is four.

    That said I can see why 23 works now others have mentioned it – that’s seems a bit more cheesy though :p

    0

    I went with 4, the logic being “how many” is asking for a number and we aren’t provided with any further information to suggest a specific number so it’s logical to assume you are writing a number as a word as the answer and the only number which has the same amount of letters in it as the value of the number is four.

    If you don’t overthink it – the answer is a number so there are no letters in the answer

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    the answer causing controversy is ‘four’

    ie. four has 4 letters in it so answers the question accurately.

    no matter how I picked apart the question, I couldn’t find any logic that would suggest the “4/four” answer

    This is the argument being given here against it.

    But also (my) logic dictates that the number of letters in the answer is also the answer, hence the disagreement.

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
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    lim x->(infinity), n = 4 where x is the number of iterations.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    If you don’t overthink it – the answer is a number so there are no letters in the answer

    That’s bobbins because a numeric answer can be written in letters.

    Four is also a bobbins answer. The question does not make semantic sense. It may come as a surprise to learn that it is possible to write a sentence that is syntactically correct but has no semantic meaning. So there’s no point in looking for one; likewise focusing on one possible interpretation of something and claiming that as ‘the answer’ is folly.

    Premier Icon funkynick
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    Four may be a ‘bobbins’ answer, but given the question as written, and without adding any additional punctuation, is ‘four’ a correct answer?

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