Almost Nobody Can Solve This Tricky Riddle. Do You Know The Answer?

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Editor of Original Content at LittleThings. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for sites like BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Unwritten. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law and Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Here at LittleThings, we love a good brainteaser or riddle. Whether it’s an optical illusion or a clever joke, we absolutely love all of them.

A few months ago we talked about this dad who couldn’t figure out the joke: “There are 30 cows in a field and 28 chickens,” and we couldn’t stop laughing about it.

Many of these riddles involve tricky wordplay, which is definitely the case with the riddle I’m about to tell you.

On July 11, 2017, Lacey Fernandez saw a sign outside with a puzzling statement on it, so she snapped a picture.

She posted it online, claiming that it messed with her head, and the post immediately blew up.

People couldn’t figure out the riddle, which seems like it ought to be really simple.

Here’s the riddle:

What has 4 letters, sometimes 9 letters, but never has 5 letters.

Yep, that’s it. That’s the whole riddle. Do you think you can solve it?

facebook riddle

Lacey posted the photo of the sign online and it immediately went viral.

Within a week, her post had over 35,000 reactions and over 145,000 shares.

what has 4 letters

I won’t lie — as soon as I saw this riddle, I was immediately stumped.

What possible word has four letters, sometimes has nine letters and never has five letters?!

lacey riddle

People immediately began commenting on Lacey’s photo about how frustrated they were since they couldn’t figure out the riddle.

So Lacey posted the above hint for people who were confused: “Read it slowly, and not as a question.”

Do you get it yet? No? Don’t worry, I didn’t get it either. Let’s break it down into sections.

what has 4 letters

OK, section one: What has 4 letters.

Take a second and read that as a sentence instead of a question.

sometimes 9 letters

Now for the second section: Sometimes 9 letters.

Again, read it slowly. Think of it as a statement unrelated to the previous section.

never has 5 letters

And finally, here’s the third section: but never has 5 letters.

Do you get it now? “Never” has five letters.

If you’re still confused, click the image below for the solution.

CLICK TO REVEAL riddle solution

Hopefully you see it now: W-H-A-T is four letters long, S-O-M-E-T-I-M-E-S is nine letters long, and N-E-V-E-R is five letters long.

riddle comments

Once you get it, it’s impossible to un-see the answer, but it makes it even more frustrating that you struggled with it for so long, doesn’t it?

Please SHARE this article with anyone you know who loves riddles!