Scott Hardie | October 22, 2002
Dan (not Daniel) was frustrated by a riddle that a friend gave him, and came to me for help. I didn't get it, so I went to Matt, who also struggled. After an hour or so, we all gave up and got the answer. As I feared, we had wasted our time, because it the answer wasn't sound. But, in case you want to give it a shot, here's the riddle:

There are two airports in Boston, Airport A and Airport B. Airport A is the largest airport in the largest airport in the United States, but not the largest airport in the Boston. How? [There are not two Bostons, Boston is in the United States, both airports are in the United States.]

Think you have it? Or, wisely, you don't want to bother thinking about it? Highlight below for the answer:

The answer, as stated by Dan's friend: "It's all about grammar. Airport A is indeed the LARGEST in the country. But in Boston there's only two airports. Therefore Airport A isn't the LARGEST, it's the LARGER of the two. When dealing with only two things, it's LARGER. When dealing with more, it's LARGEST. And if you apply that answer to the riddle, you will notice that Airport A isn't the LARGEST in Boston. :-)"

Unfortunately, that's not how grammar works. According to Webster, the superlative form of an adjective (the -est ending) defines the extreme or unsurpassed level or extent of that adjective. It has nothing to do with how many there are. Grammatically speaking, saying that "A is the largest airport" means only that there are no aiports larger than A, whether there are 1, 2, 3, 4, or more airports in the set.

Dumb shit riddle.

Want to participate? Please create an account a new account or log in.

Other Discussions Started by Scott Hardie

Want to Go Boldly?

I'm probably being foolish to consider it at this point in time, but I have this terrible urge to get a Star Trek game going. Go »

Gender Reveal Parties

Have you been to a gender reveal party? Would you even host such a thing? It's where expectant parents cut into a cake in front of family and friends to reveal pink or blue inside, discovering the gender of their baby in front of everybody in their lives. Go »

Guess Who Put the Ass in Assassination

I'm too late to discuss Pat Robertson's 8000th offensive remark while it's still fresh: He's already had time to backpedal over it. Go »

Bad Boy!

This news story is the very definition of grisly, so don't read it if you are easily grossed out. From the Tampa Tribune: Oct 15, 2003 - TAMPA - Six-year-old Dontavius Bryant went to sleep Sunday night with Chauka, his 5 1/2-week-old puppy his aunt gave him two weeks ago. Go »

Mars Attracts

Say that recognizeable animal life existed on Mars in high quantity. This would require at least some vegetation and water. Go »

Ad Rage

I'd like to know which kinds of online advertisements drive you crazy. (Except those of you who use ad-blocking software and see almost no ads. Go »