Brothers & Sisters


Barry took his sister, Maureen, to his end-of-year work picnic. While there they had an animated discussion about what to buy their mother for her forthcoming birthday. The discussion ended when they were joined by Barry’s work colleague, Brian. Barry introduced his sister to Brian who commented politely, “How lovely to meet you. And you must be younger than Barry by several years, surely?”
“Oh, no”, replied Maureen. “Barry and I were born on the same day, of the same month of the same year”.
“Twins then.” stated Brian.
Brian looked most perplexed when Maureen told him they were not twins.
Can you help him out?

Barry and Maureen might be just two siblings from a set of triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets…take your pick.


Category: Lateral thinking

24 Responses to Brothers & Sisters

  1. Greg

    Yes, they could be siblings from a larger set of a multiple birth, as offered above, or:
    1) they could either one or both be adopted by the same mother;
    2) they could share an egg donor, and one be physically born by the birth mom, and another by a surrogate, or both by surrogates;
    3) they could be brother/sister using those terms to signify participation/membership in a particular religious or social group that also has a ‘mother’ title;
    surely, there remain additional options buried in the definitions of brother and sister.

    This question is far too vague to be challenging or useful for anyone above an elementary school educational level.

    • Howard

      I think with 2) they would still be twins?

      If the egg donor is the same and the sperm donor is the same, then they would still be twins no matter who birthed them.

      They would not be twins if say they were birthed by the same surrogate mother but with eggs from different egg donors.

  2. Ruben

    some other options:
    -one could be adopted
    -one could be from a surrogate mother
    -they could be African American and refer to each other as “brother” and “sister”

    • Ruben

      One more:
      The mother could have uterus didelphys (syndrome where there are effective two uterii, each having access to one ovary. It is possible for each uterus to carry a a different egg fertilized from a different sperm. In such a case it would be arguable that they are not twins in the traditional sense.

  3. eris

    I’ve got it!

    Barry and Maureen were born on the same day, say, a Tuesday in the same month, let’s say July, and in the same year, the Year of the Ox. Years of the Chinese zodiac are 12 apart, so Maureen was years younger than Barry.

    Barry was born July 10, 1973
    Maureen was born July 23, 1985

    Same day, same month, same year.

  4. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.

    You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be
    giving us something informative to read?

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