The Great Giraffe Challenge Inconsistency

If you’ve seen my Facebook profile, you’ll see that my new display or profile photo is of a giraffe.


Well, this is because I “failed” to answer a riddle, and that requires me to use a photo of a giraffe for three days. Although I do not entirely agree with the official answer, I have to do it because a bet is a bet, and I have made a gamble. But, yes, I do not agree with the official answer, and I will even refuse to call it the correct nor the right answer. Why, you may ask. Then here.

The riddle goes, “3:00 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors, it’s your parents, and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread, and cheese. What is the first thing you open?”

I answered door, which is logical as all the other answers may be, depending on the point of view; but the official answer to this riddle in “your eyes,” and I dissent for grammatical reasons.

Although the entire riddle is constructed in the present simple tense of the verb, it has time inconsistency issues. The question asks, “what is the first thing you open?” to which point of the passage, you have already opened your eyes, and the question requires an answer (something) that has not been opened yet—an action that you will do after the question has been asked. You have already woken up; thus, your eyes have been opened, so why the need to open it again? The answer will be legit if the question were phrased “what is the first thing (that) you opened?” or “what is the first thing (that) you’ve opened?”

Someone said that all the other things were a distraction and that it was really the eyes that have been opened first and that you only need the first part of the riddle to get the answer correctly. Again, it would have been true were the question phrased correctly in time perspective.

That is my reason for not agreeing with the official answer of the riddle. The verb tense issue and time perspective. Many have argued that you only need logic and not grammar to answer this, but does not grammar and time perspective require logic as well, a higher form of logic than this riddle? 😛 Well, since this is mainly for fun (I guess), I’ll go with it, although I do not agree with the answer AT ALL.

126 thoughts on “The Great Giraffe Challenge Inconsistency

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    1. True, but the question asks for something that you open deliberately. The question asks, “What is the first thing YOU OPEN?” hinting that you need to make an initial action. As you’ve said, “the conscious [is] the first to open,” and we do not open our consciousness upon waking; an outside stimulus does it–be it an alarm, someone tugging you in, etc. Once our consciousness opens, we wake up; we do not open our consciousness to wake up.

      1. at 3am, the first thing I would have to open would be my mind – and that can be done prior to opening my eyes 😉

        I answered door as well.

  1. At first, I thought of the door because of the phrase “and you wake up.” But, based on encounters with similar passages, I knew the riddle will play an amusing trick, so I went for the eyes. In Hiligaynon, pinilosopo. Then it came to mind nga basi Pinoy man na nag-umpisa sang riddle nga na.

    Whether or not it was REALLY a riddle is something I need to get a rain check for.

  2. My issue was how would you know your parents are at the door if you didn’t have your eyes open already. So yeah, I’m a giraffe, too. :/

    1. Well, maybe that’s a prearranged appointment with your parents, so you already know that it’s them. But what kind of parents visit you at three in the morning for breakfast? Hahaha!

      1. One cannot awaken to a sound alerting the selective hearing of the brain while sleeping , UNLESS the ears are “open” to the brain processing the sound,ie….baby crying,smoke alarm..etc..My partially deaf Daughter brought this to my attention.Info available at Johns Hopkins,selective hearing while sleeping.With no other sensory stimulation ,no wakey wakey. Hence, the saying “keep your ears open.”.

    2. That is exactly what I thought too! I actually just linked this blog post in one of my own I’m so annoyed at myself for falling for it >.<

      1. Well, I didn’t say your eyes are closed or not opened first. My point is, during the question was asked, your eyes are already open, and the question requires an answer that is to be opened yet. Also, you can determine whether those people are your parents or not without opening the door; you can peek through a window or a peephole.

  3. I too said door. You had to have already opened your eyes to know it is 3am, your parents and so the next logical object to open would be the door. Or what if you were already awake… then it would be the door. I do not think it was stated that you were asleep.

    1. It hinted that you were asleep. The riddles says, “and you wake up,” thus, you were asleep and the sound of the door bell woke you up, to which point, you already opened your eyes. 🙂

  4. Well, I answered it correctly, and I think, that is what riddles are for. :)) Btw, i think it is more logical if you will open first the light before you open the door. :))

  5. If my parents would arrive at 3 a.m. I would freak out :/ Breakfast at 3:00 a.m.? I mean, couldn’t they just let me sleep for like 3 more hours so that I would be in shape to open stuff like the door, strawberry jam, honey, wine, or something? haha. And no, I won’t open the door – too lazy, too scared :3

  6. I answered “nothing” I will go back to my bed and sleep again. It’s 3am and personally, It’s hard for me to wake up that early. 😀

  7. what about this…

    A goat is tied to a coconut. the rope is 10 meters long. the distance between the coconut and the riverbank is 20 meters. Why did the goat reach the riverbank?

  8. A: You open the door first. Also acceptable is “your eyes.” Makes sense at 3 a.m. Many are saying you have to open your eyes first before you try to answer the door. And while that makes perfect sense, the way the riddle is worded it seems to indicate that you are already awake so your eyes would already be open. Truth be told though, if you were smart and looked to see who it was first, upon realizing it was your parents you’d probably open the wine first then then door.

    1. Thanks for this. I know that there are plenty of logical explanation as to what should be opened first, but as we have both mentioned, the question in worded in a way that your eyes have been opened, thus, making a bit questionable.

  9. it is possible though that the tense of the statement “what is the first thing you open?” may refer to the entire event as whole, not before or after waking up. Let’s say that question has been phrased as “what is the first thing you opened?”, that would make “eyes” too obvious as answer given the time setting of the riddle at 3AM. When we shift to the future tense, “what is the first thing you open then? or what is the first thing you will open?”, then that would take “eyes” easily out of the equation since this would mean the events have already taken place before the questions was brought up, from waking up, the doorbell, etc.

    I think whoever started the challenge either intentionally used the vague tense of the question to make it trickier or simply just messed up with the grammar. Nonetheless, I think the official answer “eyes” is valid enough. The question posed may not refer AFTER the events, but as a whole. Plus almost a quarter of those who guessed got the answer right. 🙂

    1. While that is also possible, that mainly messes up with the chronological order of the events. And most of my friends who got the official answer in one try got it out of sheer luck. 🙂 As you’ve said, “whoever started the challenge either intentionally used the vague tense of the question to make it trickier or simply just messed up with the grammar” makes the answer a bit unreliable if it is the latter.

  10. Interesting. I answered “eyes” because, grammar issues aside, I figured the whole scenario was a dream. lol

    1. The riddle does not say whether or not you sleep with the lights on. Some people sleep with the lights on, while others sleep with the lights off. And since the riddle does not indicate the situation, we can rule that out.

  11. I think “consciousnes” opens first before the “eyes”… its the ultimate answer to everything thats “first”!

    1. Again, the consciousness opens; we do not open it when we wake up unlike we do with our eyes. The question used the transitive form of the verb “open,” wherein you need to take an initial action to an object (what is the first thing YOU OPEN?). We do not open our consciousness when we wake up or to wake up; rather, the consciousness opens, and then, we are awaken.

    1. A lot of people have taken note of that, the breakfast at three in the morning, which is yeah, kind of off. 🙂 Also, this is situational/conditional though. My father also passed away like seven years ago, so I think I understand what you mean here.

  12. Its a simple answer to a simple question. “what do you open first?” YOU the author set the stage for the question. You said “you wake up” that is a declarative statement. A deceleration of truth. I don’t know of anyone who wakes up without opening their eyes. You may have an authors official answer. But due to the setting up of the scenario, you are incorrect. Well to your credit, some convicts sleep with their eyes open. So perhaps that’s your perspective. But you need to check carefully, with an open mind, the wording of your statement. You sir are incorrect in your “official” answer. Just own it.

    1. First, I did not declare an “official” answer if that is what you mean; I simply dissented with the one given by whoever made the riddle. Second, I did not set up the scenario for the riddle; the one who made it did. Third, “what is the first thing you open?” and “what do you open first?” are two different questions soliciting two different answers when placed within the situation of the riddle.

      The former requires an answer that is yet to be opened as the chronological sequence of the narrative points out that the question has been asked after you wake up, which was declared soon after the door bell rang or woke you up (refer to the tense of the verb used there).

      The latter (the one you gave, “what do you open first?”) asks for the first thing you open(ed) since the narrative began. If the question were phrased that way, then, “eyes” would be the answer, a valid one at that since that’s the first thing you opened since the scenario for the riddle was staged.

      Also, I do not allude to people sleeping with their eyes open; I am stating that the chronological order of the statement as the tense of the verb used suggests that the answer is something that needs to be opened after the question has been asked, whether or not you sleep with your eyes closed.

      But thank you for taking time to read my thoughts on today’s viral meme on the Internet, and I do respect your opinion.

  13. I pretty much came up with the same answer. How would you know it is your parents if you have not already woken up and opened your eyes? You would go to the door, and either see them thru the window or open the door to see who’s there, but either way unless you are sending them packing you would open the door!

  14. Has anyone see a where tsomeone got the correct answer if so, what is the answer? I said door and it was wrong but I haven’t seen the correct answer yet.

  15. 100% agree with you. This is a foolish and stupid riddle. woke – you are already awake right? unless your eyes has it’s own eyes to open again. >.<

  16. As with any riddle, it isn’t aimed at the person with a Ph.D in symbolic logic that can take them apart and prove every last statement is false. Riddles are aimed at the everyday person that can’t tell the difference between future tenses.

    Riddles like this are meant to make you think the easiest answer, in this case ‘door’, is false.

    Going back to the symbolic logic thing, that’s the beauty of language, you can tear it apart into so many little pieces. For instance, is 3am really 3am? or is that just what the clock has displayed? Did you know your parents were coming so you didn’t have to look outside? It says you wake up, yet it doesn’t say where you woke up, do you have to open a door to your room before seeing the front door? or did you fall asleep right in front of the door in preparation to open said door?

    Finally, doesn’t one blink? So in all actuality you’d be opening and closing your eyes quite a few times prior to opening any doors.

    1. True, but I never said that door is the right answer, as you can see in my post. I simply expressed why I dissented with the given and official answer, which is your eyes.

      However, I also dissent with the thought that “any riddle . . . are aimed at the everyday person that can’t tell the difference between future tenses,” as there are different kinds of riddle. Riddles are created for same purpose, yes, to make your brain think and analyze variables, but riddle are also created for different levels of individuals. Some riddles require higher logic to be solved, while some can be solved by almost any individual, even toddlers.

      With regards to blinking, the riddles implies that the answer, which is the opening of you eyes, is not from mere blinking, but from sleep.

  17. Actually, the correct answer is my mouth. As I shout at whoever is at my door to go away while I remain mostly unconscious. Seriously, whose parents go knocking on their door at 3am?

    1. Though that may be true, the riddle implies that you were woken up by the sound of the doorbell; thus, it becomes hinted that it is a disturbed sleep. Thus, your eyes would have probably been opened after the doorbell sounded. Then again, this is my theory. 🙂

        1. then how do you know if it is 3am, and it is your parents? those all require visual.(ok the parents could be audio, by them stating as such, but to know it is 3am would require you to LOOK at a clock, would it not?

          1. Well, I didn’t say your eyes are closed or not opened first. My point is, during the question was asked, your eyes are already open, and the question requires an answer that is to be opened yet. Also, you can determine whether those people are your parents or not without opening the door; you can peek through a window or a peephole.

  18. Exactly my point after finding out my answer (door) was wrong. Also read this amusing comment from an irritated friend: “You open your eyelids. Not your eyes.”

  19. “What is the first THING that you open?” I think eyes is not a thing. so my answer was door. But they are so not gonna change me into a giraffe! it’s cute though.

  20. why stop at the assumption (fact?) that you have already opened your eyes.

    parents are already inside and there are stuff that are already ready to be served – strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread, and cheese. if i knew my parents are out there, i would have open the door immediately and do the chatting later. hence, i would have known they need breakfast after they got in.

    my answer is i do not have to open anything 😀

    i’ll just ask them if they need anything else and go back to sleep immediately if they say none. i do not have to serve them.

  21. Having read the previous comments, I am surprised that no one here went deeper and questioned the larger context. If we allow that a person’s existence begins at birth (an argument in its own right which – for the sake of remaining relevant – I don’t invite anyone to question), then literally the first thing you open is something immediately after your birth. I would say most infants scream before ogling, which would make “your mouth” the correct answer. In fact that might extend even into the in utero phase, as fetuses swallow copious amounts of amniotic fluid but do not blink [citation needed].

    In my opinion a good riddle is one in which the answer is logically unique but requires lateral thinking; I think we can all agree that is not the case here; “door”, “eyes” and “mouth” are all lateral thinking answers, and it’s just a matter of extending the scope of the question the right amount..

  22. i took the challenge and answered door, for 2 reasons, 1. the person that posed the question for me omitted the detail about being asleep. as a night owl (i work at night) i would be awake already. after reading this, it adds more fuel to the fire. i like the way that you picked it apart to point out the grammatical errors. liked and shared. thanks fort the great work!

  23. My friends, I offer the following scenario:
    The doorbell rings and I awaken, but resolutely keep my eyes shut. “Maybe they have the wrong house,” I think. “Maybe they will go away.” Then I remember, my parents were coming at 3am for breakfast before their early flight on their trip around the world. Refusing still to open my eyes – I run through the contents of my cupboard. Uh oh, I don’t think I have anything to feed them! I open my eyes and get out of bed. I open the door for my parents, then open the wine because, hey, it’ll distract them from the fact that I have nothing to feed them except bread and jam and some old cheese.

    1. Within this scenario, there are still things from the riddle that are unopened (bread, jam, and cheese); and when the question is finally asked, your eyes have already been opened, making it out of the list of things to be opened yet that will answer the question. 🙂

  24. But with this line of reasoning, door would also be wrong, unless I misunderstand what your saying. If you’re saying that when the question is asked, it implies that it’s in the now so you have already opened your eyes, then that’s also true for the door. If you know it’s your parents, that they’re here for breakfast, and that you eat those specific things, it’s implied that you’ve already let them in, meaning door would also be incorrect. I’m not questioning your reasoning, I agree with it, but it seems to me the riddle is unsolvable because there’s no one thing you would open before something else based on when the question takes place.

    1. I retract this ^ argument. I misread the question. I took the “you have….” To mean “you and your parents eat…” not “you currently have it with you”. Now this argument makes much more sense.

    1. True, but since the waking up was caused by an outside force (the ringing of the door bell), we can safely assume that your eyes have been opened just like when we are asleep and a sudden sound wake us up. Do we not open our eyes?

  25. I answered “eyes”. My thinking is that all that happened in the riddle was just a dream. I mean it’s a rare chance that your parents would come to your house at 3 am to have breakfast with you. Remember in a dream, you tend to be all knowing. That’s why you knew all the details: the time, the peo ple ringing the bell, the food you have. Thus, you have to really wake up and open your eyes, to think whether you are just dreaming or not.;) It’s not the grammar or anything i guess…

    1. It may be a dream, yes. Remember that riddles are also staged scenarios that you have to analyze. Thus, all the variables are given to you for you to come up with an answer; that does not meat that you are dreaming or all-knowing just because you know all the details. 🙂

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