Can You Answer These Common Sense Questions?


By: Jonnathan Chadwick

6 Min Quiz

Image: alvarez / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Even more important than book smarts, street smarts, empathy or wisdom is common sense. It's not taught in schools and nobody goes professional in common sense, but it's the most important branch of knowledge in the universe. It'll help keep you dry when everything is wet and warm when everything is cold. It'll stop you from eating dirt or playing with lava. It's the reason you don't put your hand on a hot stove or park in handicap parking spots. It's the reason you don't visit the express lane with two carts full of groceries or strike up a random conversation with a person wearing headphones. It is most likely the reason you are still alive right now. 

The next time you decide to eat a bowl of soup with a spoon instead of a fork, thank your common sense training. The next time your friend hands you their phone to look at a picture and you look at one picture instead of swiping through as many as possible, thank your common sense. The next time you decide to wash your hands after using the bathroom, or cover your mouth when sneezing, or chew with your mouth closed, or decide not to rest your feet on the subway seat next to you, thank your common sense. 

If you don't have any common sense, you wouldn't have made it this far in life, but it never hurts to brush up on your skills. How much common sense do you have? Put your skills to the test and answer these common sense questions.

What happened four score and seven years before Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address?

A score is worth 20 years, so four of them plus seven is 87 years. The Gettysburg Address was delivered in 1863 and 87 years earlier, in 1776, America declared its independence with the Declaration of Independence.


When the old fish saw the young fish and said, "How's the water," what did the young fish say?

This classic parable from David Foster Wallace's commencement address at Kenyon College tells the story of two young fish who haven't yet realized they are surrounded by water all day, every day. The entire speech talks about navigating through life.


What is the name of the Nigerian prince who locates his long-lost relatives via email and sends them riches?

The Nigerian Prince scam is one of the most popular Internet scams in history and is carried out by professional fraudsters. There is no Nigerian prince or prince anywhere in the world who emails people long lost riches.


At what angle should your toothbrush bristles hit your gumline when brushing your teeth?

You should brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle in a counter-clockwise motion for about two minutes. You don't need to hold your toothbrush at a perfect 45-degree angle, but it should be angled. It shouldn't be facing straight up or sideways.


What should you do if you are on fire?

If any part of your body is on fire, you have to smother the flames to put it out, and the easiest way to do that is to stop, drop and roll. If you can smother a flame on your forearm, you don't need to roll around on the ground, but the maneuver is proper protocol if you are ever on fire.


The planet is more digitally connected than ever before. What does WWW stand for?

The world wide web is an information system that is hosted on the Internet. It is not the Internet itself. The Internet is a system of interconnected computers. The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 and the first web browser was created in 1990.


In which of these countries do people drive on the right side of the road?

People in the United Kingdom drive on the left side of the road and people in almost every country that was once under British rule follow suit. Japan was never under British rule but they also drive on the left side of the road. Americans drive on the right side of the road.


In America, where is the first place you should look before crossing the street?

You have to look all ways before crossing the street, but in America, since cars drive on the right side of the road, you should look to your left first. Drivers on your side of the street will be approaching from the left side, but if you're in the U.K., they will be approaching from your right side.


There are 12 months in a year and 100 years in a century. How many months are in a century?

A century is a period of 100 years, and since there are 12 months in every year, you can just multiply 100 by 12 to find that there are 1,200 months in a century. Every four years is a leap year, meaning there are 25 leap years in a century.


What does HTML stand for?

Most websites on the Internet are written in HTML. The markup language allows developers to display content on web browsers in an aesthetically pleasing form. Without HTML, the web would just be a bunch of lines of text.


Which of these things should you not do when walking down a busy sidewalk?

Walk around any major city and you'll be surprised at the amount of people who don't know how to walk down the street correctly. For the most part, just follow the same rules as driving, and if you have to stop, move out of everyone's way.


What should you do if you get a text while driving?

Given the fact that people barely know how to walk down the street, it should be of no surprise that texting while driving is dangerous. Your phone should be out of reach or off while driving, and if you need to check it, pull over.


There are thousands of languages on Earth, but what is the official language of the United States?

English is by far the most spoken language in the U.S. with 230 million of 330 million citizens speaking English only, but it is not the official language. There is no official language in the United States.


What does the Roman numeral V stand for?

There are seven basic Roman numerals that every number stems from: I (1), V (5), X (10), L (50), C (100), D (500) and M (1,000). Every number can be represented with these numerals. The number 743 is DCCXXXXIII, the number 250 is CCL and the number 69 is LXVIIII.


A car with automatic transmission has an acceleration and brake pedal. A car with manual transmission has a third pedal that controls what?

A car's clutch is a system of metal plates that essentially connects the wheels to the engine. When a driver presses the clutch pedal, the plates lift and disengage the wheels from the engine so the gears can be switched.


If you average 60 mph for two hours, how far will you travel?

If you are able to perfectly average 60 mph over the course of two hours, you will travel exactly 60 miles in one hour and 120 miles in two hours. A plane that flies at 480 mph will travel 120 miles in 15 minutes.


Football is the most popular sport in the United States. How long does a regulation NFL game last?

An NFL game consists of four 15-minute quarters totaling an hour in length. Once you add all the stoppages in play, the average NFL game lasts more than three hours, but amid the three-hour game, the ball is only in play for about 10 to 15 minutes.


What does CPR stand for?

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) combines chest compression and rescue breaths to resuscitate a person. It is one of the most valuable skills to learn and is required knowledge for many public service professionals.


Which of these items will not keep you dry in the rain?

A compass is a tool that tells geographic location, and it will not help keep you dry in the rain. Umbrellas, raincoats and ponchos all offer waterproof shielding to protect from rain drops, but the best protection from rain is shelter.


The phrase "PIN number" is redundant because PIN stands for what?

A PIN is a personal identification number most commonly used to confirm electronic transactions. Everything from your credit card to your cellphone account might be controlled by a PIN, and they are usually four or six digits long.


What is the most effective way to end an argument?

It's scientific fact the more you contradict someone's viewpoints, the stronger they will stick to them, so the most effective way to end an argument is to find a way to agree with the person you're arguing with. Yelling and crying might also end an argument, but not on the best of terms.


The world is filled with cars, gadgets, computers and more. Which of these sources of energy is cleanest?

Solar power converts the sun's rays into electricity and might be the cleanest source of power available, but wind, hydro and geothermal power are becoming more popular and are also clean, renewable sources.


When waiting for a subway car or elevator, what should you do when it arrives and the doors open?

If you're waiting for an elevator or subway car, you're likely going somewhere, and when you're going somewhere, you're likely in a rush, just like everyone else. When waiting to enter a car, you should wait for everyone to exit first. It will make everything easier and faster.


The United States of America recognizes 10 federal holidays. What holiday precedes Black Friday?

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and the following day is a shopping extravaganza known as Black Friday. The Monday after that is a digital shopping holiday known as Cyber Monday.


At what time of the day is the sun at its highest point?

The sun is on the horizon at sunrise and sunset and is on the opposite side of the world at midnight. It is at its highest point in the sky at noon, which is midway through the day.


What does NYSE stand for?

The New York Stock Exchange is located on Wall Street and is the largest stock exchange in the world with a market cap exceeding $30 trillion. The NASDAQ and Tokyo Stock Exchange are the second and third largest exchanges by market cap.


What's the best thing to do if your car starts sliding on the snow?

If you're sliding on snow or ice and jam the brakes, you will continue to slide and lose control of the car. The goal is to get traction on the ground, and the best way to do so is to turn the wheels and tap the gas to direct the vehicle.


There are 118 elements listed on the periodic table. What is water made of?

The chemical formula for water is H2O, which is two hydrogen molecules bonded to one oxygen molecule. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, but it's mostly found on Earth in the oceans. It is so light that it escapes gravity's pull in free form.


How do you purify water?

All you have to do to purify water is boil it for five minutes. If you can't make a fire or don't feel like waiting around for boiling water to cool, you can try to let your water sit in direct sunlight for several hours. Solar water disinfection has been used around the world.


What should you do if you receive a suspicious email in your inbox?

A suspicious communication of any kind this day and age can wreak havoc on your life. You just have to click one link in an email or open one website in a text message for someone to steal your identity, so it's best to automatically delete all junk communications.


How much money does 100 quarters equal?

A United States quarter-dollar is equal to 25 cents and 100 of them equals 2,500 cents. Since 100 cents equals a dollar, you can divide 2,500 by 100 to find that 100 quarters equals $25. A pound of quarters equals $10, so $25 in quarters equals 2.5 pounds in weight.


What should you do if you feel a sneeze coming on while you're in public?

You should cover your mouth with your elbow pit when you sneeze, but many people insist on using their hand. The best is to sneeze into a tissue, but you may not have a tissue on you. Sneezing into your hand just leaves you with a dirty hand.


The amount of time between lightning and thunder will tell you what about a storm?

Lightning and thunder happen at the same time, but light travels a lot faster than rumbling thunder, so we see lightning first. The amount of time that can be counted between seeing lightning and hearing thunder can tell us how far away the storm is from the lightning strike. Five seconds equals one mile of distance.


What does DNA stand for?

The DNA molecule might be the most important molecule in our bodies, and the acronym stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. It is shaped like a twisted ladder that is commonly known as a double helix, and it controls the genetic instructions for most living things.


How many of each animal did Moses take on his ark?

This is a classic riddle that measures information overload and fatigue. When people are inundated with information, they skip over simple facts, like the fact that the Biblical story of the arc featured Noah, not Moses.


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