Can You Finally Solve What Many Are Calling The Toughest Riddle Ever?

Updated August 29, 2017

Riddle puzzle fans have met their match…the latest tricky riddle making the rounds on the internet has practically everyone stumped.

Lacey Read posted the riddle on Facebook, a photo of a chalkboard sign that she explained: “This really screwed w my head.”

Everyone assumed that it was a riddle, but they were missing the point entirely.

While we’ve all seen riddles that start with “What has…” and poses a question for the reader to solve, this one is a little bit different. Since most of us are conditioned to identify something beginning with “What has…” as a question, it’s totally tripping people up.

The sign states: “What has 4 letters, sometimes 9 letters, but never has 5 letters.”

Many people tried to make sense of the riddle, but were understandably stumped. Lacey provided this tip, which is the key to figuring it out: “Read it slowly & not as a question.”

Ahhh. Get it? To break it down most simply, check out the punctuation. There is no question mark to indicate this is a question, rather it ends with a period, making it a statement.

And therein lies the answer, because if you read it, not as a question, because it’s not punctuated as such, you’ll see it all very clearly.

It’s a statement, that’s all very literal in providing some basic information. ‘What’ has four letters. W-H-A-T. The word ‘what’ has four letters.

‘Sometimes’ 9 letters. Yep, the word ‘sometimes’ has nine letters: S-O-M-E-T-I-M-E-S.

Get it? By now, you’ve probably figured it out. The final piece: ‘Never’ has 5 letters. Again, literally, the word ‘never’ is five letters: N-E-V-E-R.

And again, punctuation matters, because the whole statement ends with a period, and not a question mark. So the “riddle” was never a riddle at all. It was a statement, not a question!

Lacey’s Facebook post got tons of attention, as it was liked and shared and flooded with comments from people trying to figure it all out.

As Lacey commented on the post, the key is in how you read it: “read it very slowly over and over don’t over think it just read it like a regular sentence.”

There were those commenters who hoped someone else would enlighten them with the answer, with one person noting: “Someone just comment the answer already. I keep coming back to check.” Lacey wanted to keep people thinking, however, as she explained: “No I keep deleting them!!!” Another commenter responded: “Don’t over think it.” Solid advice.

Once people figured it out, there were plenty of lightbulb moment comments, including: “Omg!!!!!! I see now,” “Finally got it,” “It took me forever,” and “After seeing this this morning and thinking about it all day, I’ve finally got it lol.”

Some were able to “solve” it right away, as people left comments such as: “LOL really!!! People are not getting it? LOL this was easy” and “So easy. Took me 2 minutes.”

Lacey was surprised that the post went viral, with one person commenting: “I am coming over tomorrow so I can get your autograph okay? Getting so famous.”