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I recently read a post on Facebook regarding a mathmatical problem posed by a statement without commas. I was hoping that this site could provide a correct grammatical translation of the following statement: 1 rabbit saw 6 elephants while going to the river. Every elephant saw 2 monkeys going towards the river. Every monkey holds 1 parrot in their hands. How many animals are going towards the river?

closed as off-topic by lbf, Mitch, Hot Licks, Peter Shor , JJJ Apr 8 '18 at 2:41

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    Ah, the old St Ives rhyme. "As I was going to St Ives, I met a man with seven wives ... How many were going to St Ives?" – Hot Licks Apr 8 '18 at 0:37
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    would the statement "1 rabbit saw, 6 elephants while going to the river". mean the same as "1 rabbit saw 6 elephants, while going to the river"? – user292097 Apr 8 '18 at 0:44
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    This question belongs on puzzles.stackexchange.com – Mitch Apr 8 '18 at 1:08
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    I don't agree. It is a grammar question. – user292097 Apr 8 '18 at 1:18
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    "1 rabbit saw, 6 elephants while going to the river" is nonsense. – Hot Licks Apr 8 '18 at 1:28
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I think there are 5 animals going to the river (for certain). The 6 elephants may or may not have been going towards the river. The elephants may all have seen the same 2 monkeys. Had each elephant seen 2 monkeys, there would have been at least 25 animals going to the river. And if the elephants were also heading to the river while each one saw 2 monkeys, there would have been a total of 31 animals. But without any further information, you can only say with certainty that there were 5 animals going to the river.

1 rabbit saw 6 elephants while going to the river.

1 (the rabbit)

Every elephant saw 2 monkeys going towards the river.

2 (monkeys, seen by every elephant)

Every monkey holds 1 parrot in their hands.

2 (parrots)

How many animals are going towards the river?

1 + 2 + 2 = 5

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You Are Correct There are 11 Animals 1 Rabbit Saw 6 Elephants (7) Elephants Saw 2 Monkeys With Each Had A Parrot On Them (4) So 7+4=11 So Yes

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    If each elephant saw two monkeys going towards the river then the elephants must have been going the other way, no? – Hot Licks Apr 8 '18 at 1:27
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    @HotLicks We can't know for sure, maybe the monkeys ran in front of the elephants. – JJJ Apr 8 '18 at 1:28
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    @JJJ - You can tell for sure by examining the stuff between the elephants' toes. – Hot Licks Apr 8 '18 at 1:56
  • @HotLicks I trust the elephant(s), you really should be wary of the rabbits though. Rabbits probably can't even count (unlike the other animals that have been shown to have that ability) so they really are incompetent witnesses. – JJJ Apr 8 '18 at 2:02